December 6, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Brent Plater, Wild Equity Institute, (415) 572-6989
Michelle Myers, Sierra Club, (415) 646-6930
Jeff Miller, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 669-7357
San Francisco Supervisors Vote to Consider Partnership with National Park Service for Sharp Park
Amended Ordinance Increases Collaboration, Improves Access to Golf
SAN FRANCISCO— The San Francisco Board of Supervisors today voted 6-5 to consider a management agreement with the National Park Service for city-owned Sharp Park in Pacifica. The ordinance requires the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department to begin discussions towards developing a long-term management agreement proposal for Sharp Park with the National Park Service, and to submit that proposal for subsequent review by the Board of Supervisors. The ordinance will complement existing golf-only proposals being reviewed by the Park Department and ensures policy-makers can review diverse proposals for best addressing key city and resident concerns, such as recreation supply and public access, environmental protection and strategic financial investments.
“The status quo is not sustainable at Sharp Park,” said Supervisor John Avalos. “A partnership with the National Park Service will make Sharp Park more accessible while allowing the City to reinvest resources into our neighborhood golf courses, parks, and recreation centers.”
“This ordinance gives us all an opportunity to review all available options to address the complex problems facing Sharp Park,” said San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu. “It is an important first step, and I look forward to reviewing the proposals when they become available and hope to find a solution that is ecologically sound and financially sustainable.”
“This measure provides us an opportunity to work with the National Park Service and create solutions that balance sustainability, the recreation priorities of our residents and minimizing fiscal cost,” said Supervisor Jane Kim.
The golf course at 400-acre Sharp Park is plagued by crumbling infrastructure, annual flooding problems and ongoing environmental violations. The site is home to two federally protected species, the California red-legged frog and San Francisco garter snake. Conservation groups have sued the Recreation and Park Department for continuing to kill and harm endangered species by pumping of water from wetlands where frogs lay eggs and mowing vegetation used by garter snakes. Three dozen San Francisco community, recreation, environmental and social-justice groups have called for closing the golf course and creating a more sustainable public park at Sharp Park.
The approval of the ordinance is a preliminary step to an agreement with the Park Service for long-term managament of Sharp Park. If the legislation is not vetoed by Mayor Ed Lee, the Park Service is expected to work in partnership with the city. Any management plan would go through an environmental review processes, public review and hearings, and come back to the Board of Supervisors for final approval. The ordinance allows the city to negotiate with other parties to manage the park, such as San Mateo County or Pacifica, but ensures city decision-making considers the potential Park Service partnership proposal as well.
The Park Service is expected to propose restoring the site to coastal habitat with a trail network and other public-serving amenities. Sharp Park is within the legislative boundary of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and adjacent to the Park Service’s Mori Point, where a successful, multimillion dollar wildlife habitat and trail-restoration project accommodates neighbors, school groups and families in a community-based model of park creation. Coastal restoration experts released a scientific study and restoration proposal for Sharp Park showing that removing the golf course and restoring the natural lagoon, wetlands and beach processes is the least costly and only sustainable solution for the land. Restoration will provide the most public benefit and best protect endangered species, at much less expense than the Park Department’s costly plan to dredge wetlands and physically alter golf holes.
If a long-term management plan is reached that closes the golf course, a transition plan would allow for continuation of golf during the planning phase under certain conditions that safeguard endangered species. Pacifica residents would be allowed to pay San Francisco resident rates at San Francisco’s five other golf courses and jobs held at Sharp Park golf course would be redeployed from Pacifica to San Francisco, to help improve neighborhood recreation and park facilities within San Francisco. Lincoln Golf Course, a potential beneficiary of these new staff resources, was identified in a 2007 National Golf Foundation study as needing increased maintenance staff to improve course conditions to attract more players and revenue.