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Restoring Sharp Park would provide new hiking opportunities for all

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.

Hiking is one of the most beloved recreational activities by San Francisco residents. In fact, the last user survey performed by San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department found that out of 19 options, hiking and biking trails were by far the most in-demand. Meanwhile, golf placed 16th in the survey results, indicating low desirability amongst people surveyed.

Survey results indicate that San Franciscans want more walking and biking trails

Closing down Sharp Park Golf Course, restoring the wetlands, and repurposing the lands as a new national park would increase local hiking opportunities, coinciding with local recreational demand. And given its proximity to the adjacent Mori Point, an already existing and well-admired park managed by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Sharp Park is in an ideal location for a new park.

The low demand for golf extends well beyond San Francisco; the golf market has now been plummeting for over a decade nationwide and there is no economic indication that it will rebound any time in the foreseeable future. Sharp Park Golf Course has lost San Francisco taxpayers millions of dollars, and killed endangered species in the process. The status quo at this golf course simply should not be maintained when we could instead have something profitable, that allows the California Red-Legged Frog and San Francisco Garter Snake to thrive in peace, mitigates sea level rise, and creates a space for all people to enjoy.

Click here to take action and tell Mayor Ed Lee and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors that you would rather see Sharp Park Golf Course as a publicly accessible park for all to enjoy!

An aerial view of Wayne Golf Course, soon to be a public park. (Source: Charlie Raines/Forterra)

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 of a golf course and the volume of courses now closing annually, what will become of these closed courses?

Wayne Golf Course, located in the Seattle suburb of Bothell, Washington, was recently acquired by local environmental group Forterra in an effort to protect the wildlife habitat and turn the lands into a public park. Developers originally proposed to transform the course into housing, those plans fell through and Forterra was able to purchase the lands with a loan. In total, 89 acres will be preserved along the Sammamish River, which runs through Wayne Golf Course and provides habitat to Chinook Salmon, Lake Washington Kokanee, and Steelhead. Wayne Golf Course also sits adjacent to Blyth Park, a popular park for trail hiking, running, and other recreational activities, making the course a prime location for a new public park.

The initiative by Forterra is similar to Wild Equity’s plan for Sharp Park Golf Course. Both campaigns have been supported by the public, and have many other parallels as well. Like Wayne, Sharp Park Golf Course is the subject of poor decision making on the part of our local governments, and capital projects threaten the livelihood of wildlife residing on the course. Plus, Sharp Park Golf Course is also located adjacent to a popular park that is already part of the GGNRA (Mori Point). Due to economic realities, Sharp Park has no promising future as a golf course, and like Wayne Golf Course, can feasibly be restored and turned into a new public park.

It’s time to close Sharp Park Golf Course, restore Sharp Park’s wetlands, and let the Golden Gate National Recreation Area operate the lands as a national park- an idea which both the GGNRA and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors have agreed to. Restoring Sharp Park would have numerous benefits: it would give the imperiled wildlife a chance to thrive, Pacifica would generate new tourism-based revenue, it would provide new recreational opportunities for all, and more.

To make our restoration vision a reality, we need your help. Click here to tell Mayor Lee and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors that you support the restoration of Sharp Park!