Sharp Park in Pacifica, San Mateo County, was once home to a rare and beautiful lagoon and wetlands. Now it is at a crossroads: it can be restored to wetlands as a National Park or continue as a failing golf course, ignoring the growing challenges of climate change and sea level rise.
We envision restoring parkland at the site of the existing municipal golf course. A park will provide a healthy home for unique local wildlife such as the endangered California Red-legged Frog and the San Francisco Garter Snake. Protecting the natural wetlands will help the City of Pacifica adapt to sea level rise, while the alternative of armoring a seawall will cost taxpayers millions. Closing Sharp Park Golf Course will save the City of San Francisco millions in new infrastructure, improvements, maintenance, legal fees, and mitigation measures. A public park will bring jobs and tourist dollars to the area, as well as more accessible recreation.
For San Franciscans
Sharp Park Golf Course is a drain on San Francisco’s resources, but Sharp Park can be transformed to benefit the City. We must urge the City to transform Sharp Park into a National Park.
Allow the National Park Service to transform Sharp Park to better meet San Francisco resident’s recreation preferences. The National Park Service has stated three times in writing that it wants land, but not the golf course. In a survey conducted by RPD, San Franciscan's stated that more hiking and biking trails are residents’ #1 recreational priority; golf ranked 16th out of 19 options.
Survey results indicate that San Franciscans want more walking and biking trails
Pacificans can help their city prosper by supporting a new National Park at Sharp Park.
It will bring real dollars to Pacifica’s economy while improving Pacifica residents’ access to open spaces within their city. Despite decades of opportunities, Sharp Park Golf Course hasn’t generated revenue for Pacifica’s economy. In contrast, National Parks are a boon to local economies. In 2011, California’s National Parks generated $1.192 billion in revenues. That wasn’t a fluke. Taxpayers earn an average of $10 for every $1 invested in the National Parks Service. Pacifica can take advantage of the economic opportunity a National Park provides. Sharp Park National Park has an additional economic edge. It will be the Southern Gateway to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). The GGNRA is the most visited National Park in the nation. A visitor center at Sharp Park National Park will allow Pacifica to be a gateway for these visitors in San Mateo County, and help Pacifica draw visitors from around the globe.
The National Park at Sharp Park will continue Pacifica’s efforts to sustainably adapt to sea level rise. Restoring Sharp Park’s wetlands will protect Pacifica neighborhoods from flooding. Wetlands are nature’s best defense against floods – they act like a sponge, slowing down water during times of high flow to help prevent flooding. In contrast, attempting to defend the golf course from the ocean by building and armoring sea walls, Sharp Park Beach will disappear. The beach south of the Pacifica Pier will soon look like the beach north of the Pacifica Pier. It will be ocean crashing against concrete and rocks – the sandy beach lost long ago to the sea. Sharp Park National Park will prevent this tragic loss.
Concrete sea walls have already destroyed many Pacifica beaches. Let's not repeat the error at Sharp Park.
By supporting the Restore Sharp Park campaign, golfers can have it all. Restore Sharp Park will create a National Park and improve affordable golf. Local communities will benefit, and unique local wildlife will thrive. But we need golfers’ support to make that happen.
The Bay Area golf market is in trouble. Golf is overbuilt here. There are 6 million more golf rounds each year than golfers want to play. Golf’s popularity peaked in 2004. Now the game loses about 3 million US players each year. Golf market experts do not expect the game's popularity to recover.
Under these conditions, some Bay Area golf courses must close. The only question is which ones.
Closing Sharp Park Golf Course, rather than other, better courses, will allow San Francisco to reinvest in the City's five other municipal courses and improve access to affordable golf for everyone. It will also ensure that the best, most exciting courses are left as the collapsing golf market reaches a new equilibrium.
Closing Sharp Park Golf Course will also remove a blemish from Allister MacKenzie’s otherwise successful career.
Although known for integrating his courses into natural landscapes, MacKenzie ignored the value of Sharp Park’s natural systems. His design destroyed the natural flood protection provided by wetlands, lagoon, and barrier dunes. Unsurprisingly, the opening day for the Golf Course was delayed two times due to flooding. After the course opened, ocean storms swept away the holes that were built on flattened sand dunes. Few MacKenzie-designed holes remain.
It is better that MacKenzie be remembered for his most successful courses rather than the ecological destruction and economic folly that is Sharp Park Golf Course.
Watch this annotated audio excerpt of the Historic Preservation Commission hearing.
Partnering with the National Park Service to create a better public park for everyone is the best choice San Francisco can make at Sharp Park. But don’t take our word for it—compare the options for yourself.
Thank you to our campaign partners: Action for Animals, Arc Ecology, Arriba Juntos, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, Center for Biological Diversity, Chinese Progressive Association, Coleman Advocates for Children & Youth, Green Party of San Francisco, Golden Gate Audubon Society, Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, H.O.M.E.Y., Mission Beacon Community Center, Mission Community Peace Collaborative, National Japanese American Historical Society, National Parks Conservation Association, National Sierra Club's Resilient Habitats Program, Nature in the City, Neighborhood Parks Council, Our City, Our Kids First, Pacifica’s Environmental Family, Pacifica Shorebird Alliance, Potrero Hill Democratic Club, San Francisco League of Conservation Voters, San Francisco Naturalist Society, San Francisco Tomorrow, San Francisco Women’s Political Committee
San Francisco Youth Commission, Save the Frogs, Sequoia Audubon Society, Sierra Club's San Francisco Bay Chapter
Sunset Youth Services, Surfrider Foundation's San Francisco Chapter, Surfrider Foundation's San Mateo County Chapter, Transportation for a Livable City, Tuolumne River Trust, & Vietnamese Youth Development Center.
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Sharp Park Golf Course is arguably San Francisco’s greatest economic and ecological mistake. It loses hundreds of thousands of dollars every year, taking money away from San Francisco’s neighborhood parks and community centers. It kills two endangered species as it operates, and its location along California’s coast means that before long it will be flooded by sea level rise: already several links have been washed out to sea.
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Our recent rains allowed Sharp Park's Laguna Salada wetlands to drink deeply, and now an unusual visitor has made the wetland complex its temporary home.
An Emperor Goose, normally found near the Aleutian Islands and points north, has been…
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“In 2009 the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department promised in writing that a controversial proposal to redevelop Sharp Park Golf Course would never be inserted into the Natural Resources Management Plan," said Brent Plater of Wild Equity. "The Department broke this promise, and in the process broke the law and any pretense of honest, open governance of our parks."
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Our recent winter rains have allowed Sharp Park's Laguna Salada wetland complex to drink deeply, reclaiming areas that Sharp Park Golf Course drains and mows to create fairways and greens.
But if the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department's plan to redevelop Sharp Park Golf Course is finalized, the fringing wetlands you see today will be filled with dredged spoils and lost forever.
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Thursday, December 15, 1pm, San Francisco City Hall Room 400: Join us at a San Francisco Planning Commission and Recreation and Park Commission joint meeting where the commissioners will vote on a taxpayer funded bailout of the money-losing,…
San Francisco’s Significant Natural Resource Areas Program was to be one of the great urban conservation programs in America. But in 2016, San Francisco released a Final Environmental Impact Report ("FEIR") for the Significant Natural Resource…
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A new vision for one special place in Pacifica could help bring some desperately needed respite for imperiled wildlife, while helping protect the town’s homes and vital infrastructure.
One of the rarest, and arguably most beautiful…
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Wild Equity’s vision for Sharp Park has called for restoring the wetlands and repurposing the lands as a new national park for the public to enjoy. This proposal has been passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors 5 times, and a…
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This Saturday, June 4th is National Trails Day- a day to celebrate the 200,000 miles of trails in the United States which allow us to exercise, connect with the natural world, escape from the chaos of daily life, and much more.
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As the golf market remains in the doldrums, courses across the United States continue to close. In 2015 alone, five courses were shut down in the Bay Area, including courses in Sunol, Livermore, & Pleasant Hill. Considering the size…
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Sharp Park Golf Course has flooding issues as it is. Sea level rise will only make it worse.
New reports say that sea levels are now rising faster than they have at any point in the common era, and the clock is ticking on the opportunity…
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Thursday, April 14, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Join the Wild Equity Institute for a screening of A Dangerous Game, an explosive documentary from filmmaker and investigative journalist Anthony Baxter (You’ve Been Trumped), which examines the eco-impact…
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Saturday, April 30, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
On April 30 at 11 am, we’ll be joining forces with one of our favorite conservation groups Save the Frogs! We’ll be leading a hike at Mori Point. Join us to learn more about the endangered species…
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San Francisco has 32 pockets of undeveloped land set aside for the preservation of the natural world. These pockets hold the last remnants of wildness once found across the lands where we now live, but do we have room in our parks and our hearts…
SFRPD has been knowingly violating the Coastal Act at this beach without consequence for years
The California Coastal Commission is and has been allowing San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department to lawlessly develop and maintain a seawall…
Pacifica is in a state of emergency after heavy El Nino storms have posed a significant risk to the safety of seaside residents. But this is no first: Pacifica residents have previously been evacuated as a precautionary measure when storms…
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Why does San Mateo County want to manage this disaster of a golf course?
According to recent reports, San Mateo County is considering committing a financial boondoggle by acquiring Sharp Park Golf Course from San Francisco. Given environmental…
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Sharp Park Golf Course has little value proposition, especially during annual winter flooding
San Francisco’s money-losing, endangered species killing Sharp Park Golf Course once again left City taxpayers with a whopping bill at the…
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A San Francisco Garter Snake, one of the residents of the wetlands at Sharp Park
A new report suggests that San Francisco cannot wait any longer to restore Sharp Park. The report, completed by over 100 scientists and 17 government agencies,…
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In order to ensure that the good isn’t thrown out with the bad, the Wild Equity Institute and an array of environmental and community supporters are demanding that the Sharp Park Golf Course redevelopment plan be segregated out of the Significant Natural Resource Areas Program Management Plan, and considered separately through its own environmental review process.
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Ridgway’s Rail, one of the endangered species to return to South Bay Salt Ponds
(Source: Golden Gate Audubon Society)
Over the last several years, Wild Equity has been working on a campaign to close down Sharp Park Golf Course and…
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This figure demonstrates the location of a wildlife corridor at Sharp Park that would allow for passage across Highway 1
Given the massive impact human civilization has on Earth, an equitable relationship between people and the other species…
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As sea levels rise, flooding at Sharp Park Golf Course will gradually worsen
Despite San Francisco’s progressive reputation, the city is doing a subpar job of preparing for the impacts of climate change. According to a Summer 2015 report…
Annual flooding reduces golf activity at Sharp Park Golf Course
Sharp Park Golf Course has a lot going against it these days. Since 2005, the course has lost San Francisco nearly 1.4 million dollars (see table below). Take a look at player-written…
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Click here to download a brochure that outlines our vision to restore Sharp Park!
Tomorrow morning you step out onto the edge of 400 acres of natural wetland, just as the sunlight breaks through the sea-breezed clouds overhead. You breathe…