San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos introduced legislation on September 6 to transition management of city-owned Sharp Park to the National Park Service’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area, in order to improve recreation and public access, protect endangered wildlife and save San Francisco taxpayers’ money.
We need you to write the Board of Supervisors and tell them you support restoring Sharp Park: please write today!
Plagued by crumbling infrastructure and annual flooding problems, 400-acre Sharp Park in Pacifica is home to two federally protected species, the California red-legged frog and San Francisco garter snake. Declining conditions and ongoing Endangered Species Act violations at the golf course require changing how the site is managed, but such changes are not financially feasible for San Francisco’s strained budget. The proposed partnership will end the city’s legal and financial liabilities and put the Park Service in charge of protecting endangered species and providing public recreation, allowing the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department to reinvest its scarce resources back into San Francisco-based parks, recreation centers and golf courses.
The legislation calls for the Recreation and Park Department to work with the National Park Service to initiate reasonable steps to address the budgetary, recreational and environmental challenges at the controversial golf course and transition long-term management to the Park Service for restoring the site to coastal habitat with a trail network and other public-serving amenities.
A restoration vision for Sharp Park
A transition plan would allow for continuation of golf during the planning phase under certain conditions that safeguard the endangered species at Sharp Park. The legislation improves access to affordable golf by allowing Pacifica residents to pay San Francisco resident rates at San Francisco’s five other golf courses. Currently, Pacifica residents are only granted San Francisco resident rates at Sharp Park golf course. The legislation also retains jobs held at Sharp Park Golf Course by redeploying them 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.
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. In February 2011 coastal restoration experts released a peer-reviewed scientific study and restoration proposal for Sharp Park, showing that restoring the natural lagoon, wetlands and beach processes at Sharp Park is the least costly and only sustainable solution for the land. Such restoration will provide the most public benefit and best protect endangered species, at much less expense than the Park Department’s plan to dredge the wetlands and physically alter the configuration of golf holes.
Unfortunately the Park Department has continued to operate the golf course in ways that put endangered species at risk, such as pumping water from wetlands without permits. Six conservation groups filed a lawsuit against the Park Department in March 2011 to stop golf course activities that kill and harm San Francisco garter snakes and California red-legged frogs.
That’s why it’s crucial that we act now: by acting swiftly we can save two endangered species, save San Francisco money, and transform Sharp Park into a model for coastal communities around the nation that are struggling with sea level rise adaptation. Add your voice to the growing movement to restore Sharp Park: send in this action alert today!