The National Park Service is trying to eliminate or limit the 1% of dog-friendly trails and beaches in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. If the proposed GGNRA dog management plan is approved, dogs will be banned on ALL trails except five. Not one of these trails will be off-leash. Click to Learn which trails and beaches are affected. Click for Frequently Asked Questions.
Press Release, July 18, 2017. For immediate release.
30,000+ People Petition Interior Secretary Zinke to Keep Recreational Dog Walking in Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Dog lovers tell the new Interior Secretary they won’t roll over and play dead in the face of Park Service efforts to restrict people and dogs from the popular recreation area.
July 18 – Bay Area dog and recreation groups have launched a petition calling on Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to keep recreational dog walking in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). More than 30,000 people have signed the petition, which was started two weeks ago on Care2 (“Secretary Zinke – Help save dog walking in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.”) People from all over the world have added their names, and many have written personal comments about the importance of keeping access for dog walking where it’s currently allowed on just 1% of GGNRA land.
The Care2 petition to Secretary Zinke says: We think you’d agree that dog walking is a perfectly appropriate activity for an urban recreation area like the GGNRA, located within one of the most densely packed urban areas in the nation.
“We know that Secretary Zinke is making the Department of the Interior building in Washington, D.C. dog friendly, so we wonder if he knows his underlings at the National Park Service are doing the exact opposite by cutting recreational dog walking in the most popular recreation area it manages,” said Andrea Buffa of Save Our Recreation, a coalition of groups suing the National Park Service. “The R in GGNRA stands for recreation, not remote wilderness, so why is the Park Service trying to manage the GGNRA like it’s out in the hinterland?”
In January, the planned “dog rule” for the GGNRA was halted indefinitely when emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit showed that multiple Park Service officials used private email accounts to collude with special interest groups that oppose dog walking. Emails show Park Service staff secretly helping anti-dog walking groups lobby elected officials in support of the Park Service position, as well as NPS staff destroying administrative record files, demonstrating bias against dog walking supporters, and purposely omitting scientific data from the dog management plan, actions that irreparably corrupted the administrative process used to develop the dog rule. All the emails and other documents are available to the public on http://www.woofieleaks.com.
On May 15, the Park Service issued a vague public statement that it had commissioned a review panel to examine the private emails of one staff person.
“We are discouraged that the Park Service appears to be unwilling to acknowledge the full extent of these problems by repeatedly trying to isolate the problems to only one employee despite having hundreds of pages of FOIA-related documents that show multiple staff, including two superintendents, were complicit in a wide range of improper and unlawful conduct, wrote Chris Carr, a partner who leads Morrison & Foerster’s Environmental and Energy Practice Group.
Morrison & Foerster represents Save our Recreation, Coastside DOG San Mateo County, Marin County DOG and SFDOG, which have asked for a truly independent investigation by the Department of the Interior’s Office of the Inspector General. The groups are also asking for the dog rule to be withdrawn.
"Care2 members have been protesting this proposal loudly for over a year," said Julie Mastrine, Care2's Manager of Brand Marketing and PR. "As a San Francisco resident, I know firsthand that dogs are supremely important to many Bay Area residents. Restricting their beloved pets' access to the GGNRA will bode negatively for their health and create significant obstacles for San Francisco dog walkers, driving up the cost of dog walking and care."
The National Park Service is at it again. Just when we thought we might be able to walk with our dogs in the Golden Gate National Recreation area without constantly having to worry that the Park Service would take this activity away, they are moving to revive the dog rule for the GGNRA, hoping the new Secretary of the Interior won’t notice what they’re up to. We can't let this happen. Click here to read more.
GGNRA Dog Plan Suspended & Investigation Launched
The National Park Service is suspending its final decision on the GGNRA dog plan while the agency investigates staff emails brought to light via our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Click here to read more.
What you can do:
Less than 1% of trails and beaches in the GGNRA are dog-friendly. That means anybody who wants a dog-free experience has 99% of the 80,000 acres to play in. This rule will cut that 1% by nearly 90%.
There hasn’t been a single peer-reviewed, site-specific study (as required by law) that supports such a drastic restriction of dog-friendly areas. The Park Service gives no scientific, site-specific evidence that dogs cause negative impacts on the environment, wildlife, or park safety. They should have to prove it before they legislate it.
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area was set up to be a RECREATION AREA for a densely populated, urban area. These trails and beaches have been set aside for dog-walking since the original pet policy in 1979. The GGNRA is not a wilderness national park like Yellowstone and shouldn’t be managed as if it were.
If the dog management plan is adopted, Marin’s estimated 60,000 dogs will have to go somewhere — overcrowding the few dog parks available. That will create more dog-related problems than the GGNRA proposal allegedly solves.
The Park Service did not incorporate input from the thousands of Bay Area residents who submitted public comments opposing the restrictions. They did not address concerns raised by the Boards of Supervisors of all three counties with GGNRA land – San Francisco, Marin, and San Mateo counties – who have all gone on record opposing earlier versions of the plan. These are public lands and the GGNRA needs to listen to the public.
The GGNRA has recently changed the designations of fire roads to trails in order to eliminate off-leash dog walking on them. Yet these new "trails" are still accessible to vehicles.
Learn why there has been an effort to rebrand the GGNRA as a National Park and why this designation is important to everyone, not just dog owner's. Click here.
Reminder: Never leave poop bags on the side of the trail. Always pick up after your dog.
Marin County DOG is dedicated to promoting some simple rules to ensure that everyone has a positive recreational experience. Courtesy, common sense and communication will help us keep the trails and beaches dog-friendly. Click here to learn more.