Deva Mathur, of Belmont, California, plays at Ocean Beach with her Labradoodle dog Coco, on December 26, 2016.
Photo and story by Thomas K. Pendergast
New rules proposed for walking dogs in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) are on hold, after members of Congress requested that the GGNRA extend a waiting period for its Final Environmental Impact Statement.
Three areas on the west side of San Francisco that are affected are Baker Beach, Ocean Beach and Fort Funston, where on-leash dog walking is currently allowed during most, but not all, months of the year; yet the dog walking rules, first established in 1979, have only been sporadically enforced. A lawsuit brought by local residents against the National Park Service (NPS), which controls the GGNRA, eventually led to an overhaul of its rules, which were recently announced amidst much controversy and acrimony, pitting dog lovers against other vested interests.
In a letter by Craig Dalby, a program manager for the NPS, dated Jan. 10, 2017, he explained that delaying the implementation of the new rules will also give them more time for “a review of certain records being released in response to an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request related to the park’s dog management plan and rule.”
Dalby stated that the NPS has already released more than 260,000 pages of documents going back to 1999, and that late last December the NPS learned that a former park employee had used a personal e-mail account for official communications related to the dog management plan’s planning process.