National Park Service temporarily lifts dog-walking ban in Rancho Corral de Tierra, victory for local dog advocates

[The following is the text of a letter sent today to a Montara Fog reader regarding the park’s Rancho Corral de Tierra property.]

As you may know, when the National Park Service (NPS) acquired Rancho Corral de Tierra (Rancho) in 2011, NPS national regulations took effect, including the regulation for dog walking which requires that where dogs are permitted, they must be on leash. Through discussions with stakeholder groups and staff site visits, areas of Rancho that were determined to have potential resource sensitivity or visitor use conflicts were restricted for dog walking.

NPS is currently developing a Dog Management Plan for Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), which will address where and how dog walking can occur throughout GGNRA, including at Rancho. The current dog walking restrictions at Rancho were intended to be temporary until the Dog Management Plan is complete. We have recently heard from many neighbors and stakeholders that this restriction represents an unexpected and significant change in dog walking use, particularly compared to dog walking use prior to NPS management. We understand that you, the community surrounding Rancho, are concerned that you have not had the opportunity to provide input on dog walking regulations at Rancho.

Therefore, in view of these concerns, effective today, the Superintendent of GGNRA has designated all of Rancho as open to on-leash dog walking. Our maps on the website and signage in the field will be updated to reflect this change. This regulation will remain in effect until a new special regulation for dog walking in GGNRA, developed out of the Dog Management Plan (which has two more opportunities for public comment) is put into place.

We look forward to working with you and hope that you will participate in the dog management planning process to provide your input on the future of dog walking at Rancho. For more information, please visit our website.

Have a safe and fun holiday weekend!

The GGNRA San Mateo Team

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PRESS RELEASE

SAN MATEO, CA – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) released the following statement today on the Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s announcement in a letter to her to designate all of Rancho Corral de Tierra as open to on-leash dog walking until a final Dog Management Plan goes into effect.

“This is a victory not only for dog owners but everyone who uses Golden Gate National Recreation Area land because it demonstrates flexibility on the part of GGNRA management. I am pleased that Superintendent Dean listened to the people who consider Rancho Corral de Tierra to be a part of their backyards and increased access to dog walkers. Today, as a result of this policy change, dog walkers can access all of Rancho as long as their dogs are on leash, rather than the mere 20% that they were restricted to since GGNRA acquired the land in 2011. As we look forward to the release of the supplemental dog management plan later this year, I reiterate my strong belief that Rancho must have areas available for off leash dog walking, which is important to the health of dogs. Today’s decision increases my confidence in the process and gives me hope that we can arrive at a final Dog Management Plan that will respect the needs of all park users.”

The letter from Superintendent Frank Dean came in response to a letter Congresswoman Speier had sent to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on June 19, 2013.

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