LAST CHANCE TO SPEAK UP FOR DOG WALKING IN PARK DISTRICT MASTER PLAN

The East Bay Regional Park District is updating its Master Plan and will hold public hearings in September and October. Dog advocates need to turn out in LARGE NUMBERS at every single meeting.

You may have completed the park district’s online survey last year that included several questions about dogs. That was to gather info for the Master Plan. The 10,000 signatures we dog advocates gathered last year was in response to the survey and Master Plan update.

The new Master Plan will guide park district policies for the next 10 years or more. As it reads today, the new Master Plan will support building out new trails for “hikers, equestrians, and bike riders” – but not for people walking dogs.

Many popular trails have already closed to dogs (or now require dogs to be on leash), including Stream, Serpentine, and Dunn. Over time, trail closures and this new policy will gradually transform much of the park district into a place off-limits to people with dogs.

There will be six public meetings about the proposed policy changes in September and October. The first is in Redwood Regional Park, Oakland, on TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The complete schedule and locations are below.

It is CRITICAL that dog advocates turn out in large numbers at every meeting. Some very vocal groups are opposed to dogs (off leash or even on leash). THIS IS OUR LAST CHANCE TO BE HEARD before the updated policies go to the Board of Directors for approval. Don’t give anyone the chance to say that “most people we heard from at
these community meetings were opposed to dogs.”

Even if you hate speaking in public – be there as a warm body in support of furry ones. NUMBERS COUNT. Bring your friends and family along, too.

We need to make it clear that people with dogs – who are 35% or more of the EBRPD’s park users today, and probably 40 percent of the East Bay taxpayer base – expect to continue to enjoy the parks with our dogs.

The changes to the existing park district policies can be viewedhere:
http://cts.vresp.com/c/?ALDOG/e24d897c3a/1f4fa0a9bc/d7a65e8b06

We need two important corrections.

RFA2 says: “The District will provide a diverse system of trails to accommodate a variety of recreational users including hikers and joggers, dog owners, bicyclists and equestrians. Both wide and narrow trails will be designed and individually designated to accommodate either single- or multiple uses, as appropriate, based on location,
recreational intensity, environmental and safety considerations.”

This essentially lists the major park user groups. We would like “dog owners” changed to “people with dogs.” Park users often walk another family member’s or a friend’s or a client’s dog.

RFA3 says: “The District will continue to add both designated and shared use narrow trails for hikers, equestrians and bike riders throughout the system of regional parklands.”

As written, this means that AS A MATTER OF POLICY the park district will be able to exclude people with dogs from all new trails. (And if they don’t – people who oppose dogs can challenge that by saying that it’s “not in the Master Plan.”)

This MUST be changed. The park district should not implement a blanket policy that excludes a major group of park users/supporters.

Please note that these policies were extensively vetted over the past 18 months by staff, the Board, the Park Advisory Committee, and many others. Logically, all the user groups in RFA2 should have been repeated in RFA3 — so we can’t just assume that leaving people with dogs off the list was an oversight. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t.
But if we don’t speak out it won’t change.

PLEASE ATTEND AS MANY OF THESE MEETINGS AS YOU CAN:

September 11, 2012
7 – 8:30 p.m. – Oakland
Richard Trudeau Training Center
Redwood Regional Park
11500 Skyline Blvd
Oakland, CA 94619

September 19, 2012
7 – 8:30 p.m. – Concord
Concord Senior Center
2727 Parkside Circle
Concord, CA 94519

September 22, 2012
10 – 11:30 a.m. – Oakley
Big Break Visitor Center at the Delta
Big Break Regional Shoreline
69 Big Break Road
Oakley, CA 94561

September 29, 2012
10 – 11:30 a.m. – Fremont
Fremont Community Center
40000 Paseo Padre Pkwy.
Fremont, CA 94538

October 3, 2012
7 – 8:30 p.m. – Dublin
Dublin Unified School District
Board Room
7471 Larkdale Ave.
Dublin, CA 94568

October 9, 2012
7 – 8:30 p.m. – Richmond
Richmond Memorial Auditorium
Bermuda Room
403 Civic Center Plaza
Richmond, CA 94804

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Posted on September 5, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I will definitely attend the meetings as hiking trail for dog walking is of utmost importance. As for the trail bikers, going up Chaparral trail, the other day, I observed a group of bikers removing railroad ties from the trail and tossing them over the side – this kind of activity is not acceptable, besides it scarred the heck out my dogs.

    Pete ‘The Dogman’ Muller http://www.petmulle.com/

  2. Do you actually think that “dog owners” means someone will be allowing only dog owners on the trails without dogs? This is much ado about nothing. Though poorly written the intent is clear. If EBRPs ever does ban dogs I shall happily never again fund their bonds. Better to spend our time on something more important than poorly written policies.

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