Tuesday, September 11, 2007
GGNRA, Go Away!
TO BRIAN O'NEILL, SUPERINTENDENT OF THE GOLDEN GATE NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
Dear Superintendent O'Neill:
You are in violation of the Court's ruling in United States v. Barley, 405 F.Supp.2d 1121 (N.D. Cal. 2005). In declaring that an "emergency situation" exists under 36 C.F.R.Section 1.5 such that you can avoid public notice and public comment before taking away my beach, you are in contempt of the spirit and letter of Judge Alsup's decision.
Andrew and I ain't gonna abide by your illegal actions -- and the proof is in the pictures. We know you simply hate dogs and are on record as stating, "I will not have dogs running loose in my Park." It's not your Park -- it's the people's Park to recreate as they see fit, and that includes off-leash recreation.
Since you must have forgotten what the Court stated, here are some of its findings. You need to re-read them (or read them for the first time) because those who are our guardians are not going to let you get away with it any more than they did before.
Superintendent, you've sown a bitter crop. We won't let it harvest. It's our obligation to all the dogs, particularly Big Jack. One day when you're drowning at Crissy Field or Ocean Beach, you'll look to use for rescue. We'll have to think long and hard about it. You should hope Dad doesn't have us on leashes.
Satchel & Andrew
Excerpts From United States v. Barley:
"In sum, for more than twenty years, the GGNRA officially designated at least seven sites for off-leash use. This was not accidental. It was a carefully articulated, often studied, promulgation. The responsible GGNRA officials in 1978 and thereafter presumably believed they were acting lawfully. Even now, the government concedes that the GGNRA had full authority at all times to relax the general leash rule at the GGNRA but argues it could have done so, at least after 1983, only via a "special regulation." In other words, the agency allegedly used the "wrong" procedure back in 1978 (and thereafter) even though a "right" procedure to reach the desired result was available and could have been used. The government has not revealed its internal justification for following the "wrong" process. Whatever it was, the justification was abandoned in 2002 with the two-word explanation that it had been "in error." With this ipse dixit, the NPS wiped away two decades of policy, practice, promulgations, and promises to the public."
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After more than twenty years of consistently approving and designating areas for off-leash dog walking, the GGNRA clearly engaged in an "activity restriction" when it suddenly reversed field, closed all areas for off-leash use, and started citing off-leash dog walkers. Not only did this activity restriction work a "significant alteration in the public use pattern of the park area," but it was of a "highly controversial nature." The whole point of Section 1.5(b) was to allow the public an opportunity to be heard before such a change occurred.
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"This affirmance in no way restricts the authority of the superintendent or the NPS to "protect the resource," including the protection of endangered and threatened species. After the notice and comment under Rule 1.5(b), the superintendent is plainly authorized to adopt such closures as are reasonably necessary or appropriate to protect the resource even at the expense of fully closing the park to all off-leash use. Congress has committed the proper balance of resource protection and recreation to the park professionals. Their judgments should be respected by the courts absent a violation of the law. But here there was a violation of the law--a violation of the NPS' own regulation requiring notice and comment before making a dramatic land-use change."