We’ve been critical of the so-called “Natural” areas program (or officially, the Significant Natural Resource Areas Plan) that covers some 1100 acres across 32 separate parks in San Francisco. While the idea of a Natural Area is appealing (as it was to us, when we first heard it) the actuality has been:
- Dead and felled trees and habitat destruction;
- Use of some of the most toxic pesticides the city permits;
- And reduction of areas actually open to recreation.
All of this, of course, at some considerable expense to the taxpayer.
Others have been critical, too.
The newly-formed San Francisco Forest Alliance is intended to battle these expensive and destructive activities. Its members are “concerned residents from groups throughout the city, such as Save Mt. Sutro Forest, Save Glen Canyon, Miraloma Park Improvement Club, Golden Gate Heights Neighborhood Association, West of Twin Peaks Council, Greater West Portal Neighborhood Association, and others.”
The SFFA website is here.
SAN FRANCISCO FOREST ALLIANCE
- Halt destruction of city park trees and wildlife habitat
- Reverse plans that deny public access to trails and natural areas
- Eliminate unwarranted toxic hazards to children and wildlife
- Stop abuse of tax revenue and funding within city natural areas
Spectacular forests with towering trees and thickets are awe-inspiring for people and serve as critical habitat for wildlife in pockets of San Francisco. While city plans call for many good improvements and safeguards to preserve and protect these wild areas, there is a destructive element in motion.
The Natural Areas Program (NAP), a group within Rec & Park, proposes misguided, expensive objectives that will restrict access to popular walking trails and indiscriminately cut down healthy and beautiful trees and plants.
It’s a plan that supplants existing habitat with native grasses absent for centuries that would serve no real purpose and cannot be sustained naturally–toxic pesticides and 1000s of volunteers hours are required on an ongoing basis for even modest gains.
NAP [i.e the Significant Natural Resource Area Management Plan, or SNRAMP] has severe measures:
- Chops down almost 20,000 healthy eucalyptus trees (Sharp Park 15,000; Mt. Davidson 1,600; McLaren Park 809; Glen Canyon Park 120; Golden Gate Park Oak Woodland 84; Interior Greenbelt 140; Lake Merced 134)
- Removes an unlimited number of Willows and other trees; removal of any tree under 15 feet does not need to be documented
- Closes off 8.3 miles of popular trails for walking, hiking and running (approx 48,514 feet)
- Renders other park features “inaccessible to the public”
- Applies dangerous and toxic pesticides
- Destroys crucial habitat for coyotes, birds, raccoons, and other wildlife.
The plan’s scale will adversely affect neighbors and visitors alike, as well as irreparably harm wildlife and plants that thrive and depend on wilderness diversity. And even though an environmental impact review is under way, right now there are healthy trees being cut down and dangerous pesticides being applied in these very areas–actions that subvert the legal process and the best interests of the environment and the community.
In a time when city services and funding have been dramatically reduced, it’s troubling to see priorities and massive spending for so-called wholesale “restoration ecology” that has not been successful in previous efforts at Pine Lake and other places that now host barren patches.
If you are a neighbor, parent, hiker, runner, outdoor enthusiast, dog walker, or environmentalist, please learn about these issues and help keep our parks and open areas in their natural state and accessible for all to enjoy with minimal disturbance to nature. San Francisco Forest Alliance comprises concerned residents from groups throughout the city, such as Save Mt. Sutro Forest, Save Glen Canyon, Miraloma Park Improvement Club, Golden Gate Heights Neighborhood Association, West of Twin Peaks Council, Greater West Portal Neighborhood Association, and others.
Defend your park:
Contact: San Francisco Planning Dept., environmental review officer Bill Wycko (firstname.lastname@example.org; 415-558-6378)
Contact: San Francisco Board of Supervisors: http://www.sfbos.org/index.aspx?page=1616
Join your neighbors to defend our parks: DefendGP@gmail.com
- The poisons issue in Glen Canyon Park: http://www.marinatimes.com/apr11/pets_poisoning.html
- An academic’s comment submitted to the San Francisco Natural Areas Program (SFNAP) EIR: https://milliontrees.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/professor-arthur-shapiros-comment-on-the-environmental-impact-report-for-the-natural-areas-program/
- A history of the NAP: http://www.sfdog.org/content/nap-background-info
- What is wrong with NAP: http://www.sfdog.org/content/whats-wrong-nap
- Loads of information on NAP issues: http://milliontrees.wordpress.com/
- Another park which is sick and tired of NAP: http://www.miralomapark.org/miralomalife/miraloma-life-online-–-october-2011/
- Another website which “tells it how it is”: http://naprap.home.mindspring.com/