Press Release Dec 9, 2016

Final Dog Rule Improves Conservation and Recreation at 2nd Most Visited National Park

The final rule creates zones for where on-leash, off-leash, and no dogs are allowed, allowing the public to choose the experience they want to enjoy.

San Francisco, CA – After more than a decade of drawing upon scientific research and public engagement, the National Park Service released its final rule for dog management on the roughly 18,000 acres of land it owns and manages within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). GGNRA is the only national park site to offer off-leash dog walking areas.

The final rule creates zones for where on-leash, off-leash, and no dogs are allowed, allowing the public to choose the experience they want to enjoy. Consistent with other local land management agencies such as the County of San Francisco, the Park Service developed zones in order to reduce visitor conflicts and protect important natural resources.

The rule continues to allow for off-leash dog experiences on Crissy Field, Ocean Beach, Fort Funston and Rodeo Beach, and adds a new off-leash area at Rancho Corral de Tierra. Through the creation of new zones for dog-free or on-leash dog experiences, wildlife protections are expected to be strengthened for important species such as the endangered snowy plover and mission blue butterfly, and visitor use conflicts involving dogs will be reduced.

Below is a statement by Neal Desai, Director of Pacific Region Field Operations for National Parks Conservation Association

“National Parks Conservation Association commends the Park Service for drawing upon more than a decade of research, community engagement and science to inform the final Golden Gate National Recreation Area dog management rule.

“Out of all of our 413 national park sites, Golden Gate National Recreation Area is the only one to offer opportunities for people to walk their dogs, off-leash. The park is also home to more threatened and endangered species than Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks, combined. It is essential that the park is managed and protected for the long term for all of us. The Park Service struck this balance in its final plan, which generously includes even more opportunities for people to explore the park with their dogs, with new additions in San Mateo, San Francisco and Marin counties.

“With its common-sense zoning approach for the plan, visitors will continue to bring their dogs to enjoy the park’s beaches, trails and areas of outstanding natural beauty. Rightfully, the final rule reduces dog-walking conflicts with other recreational activities and continues to protect wildlife-rich, fragile lands with dog-free areas.

“The San Francisco Bay Area is on track to increase its population by millions of residents over the next 20 years, and we must ensure that the values that make GGNRA one of our country’s most visited national parks are protected for the enjoyment of all, now and in the future.”

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About National Parks Conservation Association

Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historic, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.