We’ve been concerned that the only community input UCSF has been accepting is from the Mount Sutro Stewards and their supporters.
Grade school kids sometimes play an infuriating game called Opposites: They do the opposite of what you ask. If someone says “Can I share your candy?” they swallow it all. If Mom says “Can you clean your room?” they dump their drawer on the floor.
[ETA: We received a letter from a law firm representing the San Francisco Parks Trust and the Sutro Stewards demanding removal of the map we used to illustrate this article. We believe the map to be non-copyright.
Nevertheless, I have taken down the map. I expect to replace it later with another one with the equivalent information.]
[ETA2 (5 June 2012): This hand-drawn map replaces the one removed, and the article has been edited to make the references correspond.]
We’re beginning to feel we’re involved in such a game, particularly with respect to issues that concern the Forest Knolls neighborhood. Examples:
1. PROBLEM: The South Ridge Demonstration Area (#1 on the map)
The demonstration project (only one) as initially proposed was slated to be 2 acres on South Ridge. The area is just above Forest Knolls. At the time, we objected to the use of South Ridge as a demonstration area, for the following reasons:
1. As a long thin strip along the whole of the South Ridge, it could impact a much wider area than just the two acres with an added risk of windthrow for trees below it (i.e. trees being knocked down by the wind). This is a windy area of the mountain, and tree removal would thin the windbreak we have there now.
2. The planned “thinning” and gutting of the understory would inevitably affect the integrity of the forest, which is a functional cloud forest, by drying it out.
3. This would impact wildlife in the forest (and could result in vermin invasions into homes and gardens).
4. Visually, it would be evident both from inside and outside the forest.
5. Inevitably, herbicides used on high ground above the Forest Knolls would wash down the hillside into our community.
- RESPONSE: Expand the South Ridge Demonstration Area by 50%. We would have thought they would consider other areas not so likely to impact a community. Instead, they EXPANDED the South Ridge demonstration area from 2 acres to 3 acres. (They also added, not substituted, three other areas.)
2. PROBLEM: Thinning and gaps in the tree screen between Forest Knolls and the Aldea campus. (On the map, the narrow green strip above Christopher Drive.) This was caused mainly by the SF PUC water project: the building of a new pump station, the removal of the old one, and the cutting of the Gash through the forest where the pipeline runs down from the water tank on UCSF land. This considerably changes the environment for neighbors along Christopher Drive, and for anyone walking there. It’s also increased wind velocities in the neighborhood.
- RESPONSE: Drive a new trail through it. So what was UCSF’s response? Not to plan on planting more trees and revegetating the Gash. Instead, they’re planning to drive a new, wholly unnecessary trail through a screen that’s quite inadequate already.
3. PROBLEM: Herbicide use – Roundup and the more toxic Garlon.
There’s been increasing evidence that these pesticides are more toxic to people and the environment than the corporate research shows. Most neighbors object to pesticide use in the forest.
- RESPONSE: Determine that Herbicides are essential. UCSF actually responded very positively earlier; no pesticides have been used in the forest since 2008, and in the Aldea campus since late 2009. But now? They have determined that herbicide use is essential to the Plan.
So what community input did UCSF accept in modifying the Plan?
As far as we can gauge, only two:
1. From the Stewards – instead of doing one demonstration area of 2.5 acres, they will simultaneously start three, totaling 7 acres.
2. From the Stewards – the addition of a new half-acre demonstration area, with View Corridors.
They’ve also extended the post-demonstration area of interference with the forest from 32 acres in the 2001 Plan to 47.5 acres now. We have no idea whose idea that was because it wasn’t discussed at any of the six meetings.