To: San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, San Francisco Board of Supervisors, San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission, and San Francisco Recreation and Park Department
Stop the Wasteful Destruction of Forests and Habitats by San Francisco Natural Areas Program (NAP)
NAP was originally intended to protect and nourish a sampling of San Francisco's plant heritage where it existed. That is worthwhile.
Yet today the program has morphed into an empire that is claiming control of one-fourth of city parkland to create native gardens that cannot be naturally sustained. It will drastically alter our parks in a program that:
-Cuts down 18,500 healthy trees, simply because they are considered non-native.
-Uses toxic pesticides repeatedly.
-Closes nearly 10 miles of popular hiking and jogging trails.
-Destroys impenetrable thickets and trees that provide shelter and protection for wildlife.
-Replaces existing vibrant green landscapes with dry, brown grassland and piles of brush.
Please do not let NAP destroy our parks in a misguided attempt to turn back the evolutionary clock and re-create an idealized "better" environment from a time before European settlers arrived, a time when San Francisco was mostly sand dunes and rocks, with few trees. Our city faces strict prioritization of scarce resources that when allocated to parks should be to keep them safe and accessible, not create fenced-off gardens in the process destroying what we already have. This so-called “wholesale habitat conversion” would require tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer funding and unprecedented broad-scale volunteer hours for modest gains, if any.
We, the undersigned, do not want to return our parks to such a barren landscape absent for centuries. We ask that you stop NAP from destroying trees, spraying dangerous herbicides, disrupting a healthy ecosystem that supports hundreds of species, and restricting access to our city parks.
Why is this important?
The "Natural Areas Program" controls 1/4 of San Francisco city parkland and is destroying 18,500 trees and wildlife habitat, closing 10 miles of trails, and increasing toxic herbicide in an attempt to "restore" the dune plants which were here in 1776.
San Francisco Forest Alliance at http://sfforest.net is a new organization trying to stop the expansion of this unnatural and unsustainable program. The program diverts $1.6 million a year from park operating funds and millions in park bonds and state grants while SF Rec & Park is cutting basic park programs, increasing park fees, and asking for more bond funding.
The NAP DEIR can be found at: http://sfmea.sfplanning.org/2005.0912E_DEIR.pdf
One of the significant comments to the DEIR can be found at: http://milliontrees.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/professor-arthur-shapiros-comment-on-the-environmental-impact-report-for-the-natural-areas-program/
San Francisco Forest Alliance
Preserving Public Parks For The Public