New Proposed Dog Management Plan Creates Better Park Experience For All

Snowy Plovers Chased at Ocean Beach

Snowy Plovers Chased at Ocean Beach, Photo © Alan Hopkins

Last month, the National Park Service announced a new Proposed Rule for Dog Management in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area – and with a little bit of improvement it would ultimately enhance the park experience for visitors, protect our fragile natural resources, and improve the park experience for visitors, wildlife, employees, and dogs.

The GGNRA has had many instances of dogs being attacked by wildlife, falling off cliffs, biting or threatening park visitors and wildlife, and disturbing sensitive habitats. This is because our off-leash dog play areas are unsafe and because leash laws have not been enforced in any meaningful way. But the new proposed rule would help ensure that our off-leash areas are safe and would enforce leash laws vigorously outside of these designated areas.

An essential step towards creating a better, more equitable park experience for all, the new proposed rule provides important safeguards for people, our pets, wildlife, and the entire park system by providing for specific areas where dogs may roam off-leash, including Fort Funston, Ocean Beach, and Crissy Field. In addition, the proposed rule provides for hundreds of additional miles of trails where dogs will be welcome on-leash and ensures that these areas are clearly demarcated so that park visitors can choose their own experiences at the GGNRA and not have the experience thrust upon them unwillingly.

Off-leash dogs areas are currently unsafe because they weren’t designed consistently with the best practices for good dog park design, which calls for a physical barrier. Better dog management in the GGNRA has been called for by the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Bay Area residents, and animal welfare groups like the ASPCA, PETA, American Humane Association, Action for Animals, and Dogs Deserve Better. Even SFDOG, an organization that opposes the new dog management plan, admits that physical barriers are needed to protect dogs from hazards posed by vehicles, park users, other dogs, steep cliffs, etc.

Click here to submit a public comment saying that you support the new Proposed Rule for Dog Management as a step towards a more equitable park experience for all, so long as all dog play areas are fully enclosed with a physical barrier!

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