GGNRA – There’s A New Sheriff in Town

I’ve been watching a local issue brew over the last several months.  Here’s a brief background for my readers who haven’t read about this topic yet, and my two cents.

Coastside pet owners are extremely passionate about their furry family members.  In general, the Half Moon Bay Coastside is a very pet-friendly place to live.  The lifestyle that local pet owners enjoy is one of the reasons we/they enjoy living here.  Outdoor recreation is a well known and major benefit of living on the Coastside, spanning from the south San Mateo County coast into the town of Half Moon Bay up to Montara and into Pacifica.

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) recently purchased “new lands” as they have been calling the 3700+ acres of Rancho Corral de Tierra in San Mateo County, California.  A decades old “dog management” policy for the greater recreational areas is currently under fire.  When this new owner proposed to change the long standing status quo for local recreational use for our four-legged best friends, this idyllic lifestyle was threatened.  As a result of massive public comment, I now read that a second attempt at a revised dog management policy will occur.

When GGNRA revises its dog management policy for the thousands of new acres it manages, it will need to consider the fact that one size may not fit all.  Specifically, San Francisco and Marin County dog owners are in a very different situation from Half Moon Bay Coastside dog owners.  I know this first hand being raised in Marin County, with a family dog.  Their access to dog walking areas is greater – even though I didn’t walk the family dog, she was really Mom’s dog!  Here on the San Mateo County Coastside, our small coastal community is cradled on one side by the Pacific Ocean’s tides and on the other by that very mountain ridge of which we’re speaking.  The mountain range is literally our backyard, especially in El Granada, Moss Beach, Montara and parts of Pacifica.  We have one small, unexciting, dog park, located in Half Moon Bay.  I’m not even sure if it is a permanent park…  We have miles of beach where dogs are “supposed” to be on leash.  The only hills we can exercise our dogs are among the open space of new GGNRA lands adjacent to our neighborhoods.

Image from (downloaded pdf).

One of the most wonderful places for walkers of any kind is Montara Mountain (McNee Ranch State Park).  Another area is the El Granada hills behind quiet El Granada neighborhoods, and east side Miramar.  All of these areas span the huge mountain  called Rancho Corral de Tierra that was previously owned by Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST).  This change in ownership has been widely reported.

All this being said, there are two sides to every story.  Not everyone loves dogs, especially dogs that are off leash in public places.  We know our dogs, but those we come across on the trail or anywhere, do not.  While the recent articles focus on the outrage over a GGNRA Ranger using a taser to restrain a dog walker, from what I read, the facts need to be uncovered and it looks like local Congresswoman Jackie Speier is going to work on just that.  So stay tuned…

In the meantime, keep your pups close.  Note to buyers, this is a fantastic place to raise a pet.  They really love the fresh air and plentiful supply of gophers.

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