The National Park Service on Friday issued an updated version to its controversial Dog Management Plan, a sweeping set of proposed regulations governing dog access to 22 areas within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The Park Service said the new regulations were partially shaped by more than 8,000 comments following the release of its first proposed set of rules in 2011.
“We did make some changes to this plan and some are substantial changes,” said Howard Levitt, spokesman for the GGNRA.
Levitt said some of the changes included an additional upland dog area in Fort Funston, with dog access to lower areas of the park.
He said the 2011 draft banned dogs entirely from Muir Beach in Marin County while the new version allows dogs on the beach as long as they’re on a leash.
“Our challenge and task was to somehow create a proposal that, somehow or other, provides that variety of visitor experiences and still protects park resources,” said Levitt.
Dog owners said they were still trying to digest the new set of regulations which includes thousands of pages of documents. But Martha Walters of the Crissy Field Dog Group said she wasn’t pleased with what she’s read so far.
“We had the initial read,” said Walters, “and it’s actually really disappointing what the Park Service put together.”
Walters said the new set of regulations didn’t seem much different than what was proposed in 2011. Among the regulations she noted, the East beach of Crissy Field remained closed to dog access.
“That’s completely unenforceable,” said Walters. “Baker Beach same thing, no dogs off leash.”
Walters said her group would begin rallying other dog owners to fight the current set of regulations.
“We’ll be holding public workshops about how to write effective comments to the Park Service,” Walters said, “and getting the message out that off-leash is definitely in jeopardy in the GGNRA.”
Levitt said the Park Service will hold a series of public meetings to take in public comment over the next 90 days. A final set of laws is set to be issued in 2015. Until then, it’s safe to say the Park Service will be sifting through a few thousand more comments.
To read the proposals and comment, visit http://parkplanning.nps.gov/dogplan