Posts

San Francisco’s Natural Areas Program was to be one of the great urban conservation programs in America. But after years of misguided political beatings, the program has lost integrity. The program recently released a Draft Environmental Impact Report for its program management plan—but the plan has been radically altered, particularly at Sharp Park.

The new Sharp Park plan incorporates an 18-hole golf course into the “recovery” area for the San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog—even though the golf course is the primary threat to both species’ existence at Sharp Park. The plan also suggests that Sharp Park Golf Course is an historic resource—even though the City’s own Historic Preservation Commission could not concur that the golf course retains historic integrity. Based on these misguided beliefs, the Draft Significant Natural Resource Area Management Plan Environmental Impact Report refused to consider a full restoration alternative at Sharp Park.


Watch this annotated audio excerpt of the Historic Preservation Commission hearing.

The Wild Equity Institute submitted comments opposing the Sharp Park portion of the Significant Natural Resource Area Management Plan, as did the Sierra Club, Golden Gate Audubon Society, Nature in the City, and many other conservation organizations.

In order to ensure that the good isn’t thrown out with the bad, the Wild Equity Institute has proposed that the Sharp Park Golf Course plan be segregated out of the Significant Natural Resource Areas Program Management Plan, and considered separately through its own environmental review process. After hearing about the misguided attempts to make Sharp Park Golf Course an historic landmark, Supervisor Scott Weiner agreed that the Department’s all-golf plan for Sharp Park should stand or fall on its own, not be cobbled together with the larger natural areas program.

The City will now consider the comments and will eventually publish a final plan, possibly in 2012. Keep abreast of the updates by signing-up for wildequity.org.

In a stunning rebuke to golfers grasping to keep San Francisco subsidizing suburban golf in San Mateo County, on September 21, 2011 San Francisco’s Historic Preservation Commission stated that it does not concur that Sharp Park Golf Course is an historic resource.


Watch this annotated audio excerpt of the Historic Preservation Commission hearing.

Sharp Park Golf Course has been losing money and killing endangered species for many years. In September Supervisor John Avalos introduced legislation to transform Sharp Park into a new national park, while providing Sharp Park’s current golfers with additional access to affordable golf courses in San Francisco.

But golf privatization groups who oppose national parks convinced San Francisco’s Recreation and Parks Department to make-up a case that Sharp Park Golf Course should be protected as an historic resource under the California Environmental Quality Act. As part of this process, the Department asked the Historic Preservation Commission to rubber-stamp its proposal.

However, the Commissioners reviewed the proposal and raised several objections to the Recreation and Parks Department proposal. Led by Commissioner Alan Martinez—who explained that the existing golf course is “a fragment of what it once was”—the Commission could not reach consensus on the golf course’s integrity, and unanimously voted that “the commission did not concur on the integrity of the golf course.”

The Wild Equity Institute is working with dozens of community, environmental, and history organizations to ensure that the California Environmental Quality Act and San Francisco’s historic preservation laws aren’t abused by golf privatization groups. The next step in this process is to ensure that the Planning Commission evaluates Sharp Park separately from other natural areas in San Francisco that are undergoing environmental review. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for more updates in the coming weeks.