April 15, 2014 2 Comments
Once in a while, we want to affirm the values that San Francisco Forest Alliance stands for. We’re a grass-roots organization of people who love nature and the environment, pay taxes responsibly, and want access to our parks and wild places – with our families.
Citizens care about their city Parks, and want to keep healthy trees and to open access to natural areas. Citizens expect city management to act responsibly and in the public trust, for FAIR allocation of 2008 Clean & Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond funds.
SF Recreation and Parks Department (SFRPD) and particularly the Natural Areas Program (NAP), obsessed with Native Plants, is cutting down trees, restricting access, using more toxic herbicides than any other section of SFRPD (excluding Harding Park Golf Course), and using financial resources that could better be used for things our city’s residents really want.
Watch our video on Youtube, (where you can also sign up for the SF Forest Alliance Youtube channel):
OUR MESSAGE TO SAN FRANCISCO AND SFRPD
What we stand for can be summarized in four key areas: Trees, Access, Toxins, Taxes.
- TREES: Stop destroying city park trees and the surrounding thickets and habitat. We support hazardous tree removal, but we’re beginning to see “hazard” used as an excuse for removing any large tree. The probability of death by tree-failure is half the probability of being struck by lightning. By contrast, trees save a life every two years in San Francisco by fighting pollution and sequestering carbon. [Edited to correct the number of lives saved.]
- ACCESS: Open public access to trails and natural areas for people and their families, including children and pets. NAP plans to eliminate 9 miles of trails, and close some areas to dogs. As SFRPD moves into Natural Areas, the first thing that goes up is signage restricting users to designated trails. The only acceptable activity in a “Natural Area” is walking along that trail. No exploration or climbing or games or picnics.
- TOXINS: Eliminate use of toxic pesticides in the Natural Areas. NAP is the single largest user of “Tier I” (most hazardous) herbicides within SFRPD, (aside from TPC Harding Park, which is a golf course managed by PGA Tour, and effectively outside SFRPD’s control).
- TAXES: Manage valuable Bond funds to actually benefit the park-users and align with their priorities. Redeploy resouces wasted in the natural areas. NAP’s experienced gardeners would be a blessing to city parks that have lost their gardeners to budget cuts. The money spent rebuilding trails that don’t need it could pay for fixing some of the rest-rooms that didn’t get funded. (An SF Weekly report showed that instead of the 35 restroom renovations voters had expected, only 21 actually got done.) Money paid for herbicide spraying could pay for a rec center program.