San Francisco Natural Areas Overview
Welcome to SF Natural Areas!! This site is for, by, and about the volunteers who work to preserve and protect the remnant habitats within San Francisco.
Unlike most other major urban areas, San Francisco’s steep topography has prevented the sort of torched-earth development that completely obliterated all traces of original landscapes elsewhere. In fact, 1100 acres (that’s 27%) of the San Francisco parks system are officially designated Significant Natural Resource Areas because they still contain irreplaceable biological communities. Other mostly-pristine remnant areas are owned by other public entities including the Public Utilities Commission and the Presidio Trust.
These public lands are under constant threat, however, from invasive weeds and over-use — and this is where volunteers come in. Volunteers with the Natural Areas Program of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department (RPD) contribute tens of thousands of hours each year pulling weeds, maintaining trails, and propagating and planting native plants.
In fact, Natural Areas Program volunteers constitute over 25% of all RPD volunteer hours even though the Natural Areas Program has only 2% of RPD staff and receives only 1% of the RPD budget. The Natural Areas Program is underfunded and understaffed by a factor of ten. Volunteers are what prevent these priceless biological assets in San Francisco from collapsing into weedy ruin.
Anyway, other natural areas managers besides the SFRPD include the Presidio Trust which runs its own volunteer program; the National Park Service, which runs the Golden Gate National Recreation Area; the SF Public Utilities Commission which owns important remnant areas near Laguna Honda; and UCSF, which owns and manages Mt Sutro. Plus, there are other important groups which play crucial roles in San Francisco’s preservation of its biological heritage.
However, what has been missing is a site where volunteers can post their photos and tell their stories about working in these remarkable areas. That need is what this site attempts to fill. This site also, over time, may become an integrated botanical guide to San Francisco’s native plants, though this be an over-ambitious goal.
Browse the Events, Photos, and Blogs to see what’s happening at all the various Natural Areas. To track quickly and easily the most recent contributions, check the general blog section and the general photo section. These combine all content from all the natural areas we cover in reverse chronological order, so the newest stuff is always the first you’ll see.
General Blog Posts
These posts concern general SF Natural Areas themes. For posts regarding an individual site, go to that site's main page. For all blog posts from all sites in chronological order, go here.
Hens 1, Foxes 0
Despite our dour predictions for the SFPUC seismic retrofit work at Mt Davidson, we’re extremely pleased to report that the project is nearly finished and has so far been done according to plan — thus avoiding the considerable destruction to critical habitat areas that would have resulted from the initial plans.
Specifically, the pipeline replacement on the north side was correctly placed well within the trees where there was nothing but too-crowded eucalyptus, blackberry, and ivy. Indeed, the work opened up the slope in a most gratifying way, providing the opportunity for much more rapid rehabilitation of this area’s damage from decades of neglect. So far, native grasses (mostly Elymus glaucus) have been seeded along the path, but over time, we’ll probably add a variety of native shrubs as well. Here’s a view looking down the hill along the path:
Along the southern run of the pipeline, the work was correctly constrained within the margins set along the trail. Fences successfully protected some particularly important plant communities along the path, and other areas (particularly the Angelica hendersonii patch) are fine.
The tank work at the summit is still quite a mess, but then that area was mostly a weed patch (notably radish) anyway, so once the construction is done and the area is replanted, it will likely enjoy a net improvement.
There seems to be little doubt that the considerable level of community interest and attention to this project assisted its final satisfactory outcome. Certainly the puny contractual penalties for the contractor played no role. We’re only relieved to see that no one decided that cutting corners to save money was in their best interest. The “hens” won this round, and for that we’re grateful.
2009-01-16 14:20:59 -0800, TereseL said:
did we send a thank you to anyone for doing this properly? (I know, shouldn’t have to thank folks for doing their jobs but a nice note could make it more likely that we can have decent cooperation in the future)
2009-01-16 14:36:49 -0800, Tinman said:
Various people emailed SFPUC staff, and this blog entry is a public “compliment,” if you want to call it such.
As to what contributed to the outcome, well, it was noise — loud and sustained — just as it always is here in San Francisco. “Nice notes” don’t play into it. SFPUC did not change their plans to do anyone here a favor — other than to do themselves a favor when they realized what they’d have to deal with if they didn’t.
Noise from lots of people is what will be required in any future similar situation. That’s just the way things work here.
Attack of the Bicycle Barbarians
As if damage from digging off-leash dogs weren’t bad enough, San Francisco’s Significant Natural Resource Areas are now being assaulted by a new menace: mountain bikes. This past Sunday, over 400 mountain bikers rode a 30-mile loop through what they called San Francisco’s finest dirt. What they in fact were spinning, sliding, and skidding through were critical habitat areas on Mt Davidson, Twin Peaks, Glen Canyon, Mt Sutro, and McLaren Park.
One thing needs to be perfectly clear: Rec&Park Department policy prohibits bicycles in the parks except on PAVED surfaces. So this onslaught was completely illegal and inappropriate quite apart from the destruction these riders caused.
But far worse, these malefactors skidded down and churned up steep informal trails that the Natural Areas Program staff have been trying to close to protect important native grasslands and wildflower fields. They widened existing eroded areas by riding adjacent to paths rather than on them in order to avoid rocks in the paths — or simply went off trail whenever it suited them.
Here’s a path on Mt Davidson that the bikers widened over a foot (on the left side) by skidding on grass rather than the rocky path itself.
Here’s what happened to one Douglas iris on Mt Davidson after being ground over by 400 bicycles:
Because our hills are so steep, these riders are either spinning or sliding most of the time — hence the severe amount of damage.
These impacted areas are irreplaceable biological treasures that hundreds of volunteers have contributed tens of thousands of hours over the years to preserve and protect. And in one explosive afternoon, these ignorant and uncaring bikers attacked all this work in a hedonistic expropriation of the public commons for their own personal recreation.
Remarkably, these perps have posted accounts of their exploits along with photos of themselves and even videos of their destructive actions! The video in particular shows dramatic footage of Glen Canyon getting trashed, and here is someone way out of line on Twin Peaks.
Unfortunately, this is not the first destructive activity by the mountain bike community. Over the past couple of months, perps at McLaren Park have been building various “features” like humps, bumps, jumps and slides:
(More photos are in the McLaren Park section. We’ll post photos of damage done to Glen Canyon soon.)
Apparently these folks think that they can simply walk into our parks and do whatever they want to them. The editor at the Soil Saloon web site says “lend a shovel, a hand, a word and a thought to creating more legitimate space for us mountain bikers” without any apparent sense of irony, given the completely illegitimate nature of their current actions.
No doubt some will attempt to argue that it’s only a few bad apples in the biking crowd who are responsible for these problems, but the size of the mob Sunday certainly puts that argument to rest. There are many aggressive mountain bikers and they are doing a lot of damage because each one can do so much so quickly. These people may have more piercings and tattoos, but their behavior otherwise is identical to all the chaw-spittin’ yobs who tear up wilderness areas in their ATVs. Clearly there is a psychopathology intrinsic to some humans that makes them prefer “recreation” that involves destruction of a commonly-held public good.
So what to do? The Natural Areas Program isn’t staffed well enough to do even its minimal responsibilities, plus they have no enforcement powers. The Park Patrol is supposed to respond to such offenses, but Mayor Newsom has limited their beat to Golden Gate Park after all the bad press he got over the homeless encampments there. The SFPD is uninterested in any park issues unless there’s blood involved. The City Attorney’s office could conceivably prosecute these folks, given the ease with which they could be tracked down.
The politically-correct step would be to “educate” the bikers about the ecological importance of the areas where they only see “unused dirt”. But would this have any chance at all of being effective? Since the only locations left for the kinds of bike riding that they want to do are the Significant Natural Resource Areas, the only “lesson” would be “You can’t do that here!” and that appears not to be a lesson that these bikers have any interest in hearing.
Still, here are some tangible steps that should be taken:
- The RPD should place signage at all entrances to all parks clearly prohibiting bike riding in any Significant Natural Resource Area
- The Bicycle Advisory Committe should contact all bicycling organizations and inform them about this problem and the necessity of its immediate correction.
- The City Attorney’s Office should prosecute all identifiable perps from the November 16 brouhaha and send cease and desist notices to all the relevant biking organizations.
Email the City Attorney and the Interim RPD General Manager and let them know how important it is that they stop the bikers from destroying our public commons!
Whoever put up the incriminating YouTube video has yanked it down. What do you know.
Incriminating video has been yanked down again. What a surprise.
Hmm, it’s back up again. Very weird.
Now the video is “private” and unwatchable. This is so revealing about the people behind “SF_FLOW”.
2008-11-20 10:59:58 -0800, Dale Dribble said:
I don’t think name calling and pointing out the piercings and tattoos is going to do us any good. We are very lucky to have our parks. Usage from bikers, trail runners, hikers, dogs, and children is inevitable. Lets not call one another names, lets take the high road and band together. “Yes we can.”
2008-11-20 11:18:58 -0800, Tinman said:
Taking “the high road” here means STAYING ON THE ROAD — which is exactly the problem. The issue is unacceptable, illegal activities by a large group that are materially damaging an irreplaceable common public good. Feel-good platitudes about “banding together” are meaningless unless that results in one outcome: stopping these destructive acts.
2008-11-20 12:02:26 -0800, Dale Dribble said:
Lets be mature about this, lets avoid the name calling and stereotyping. Its hard to believe that as grown up we still call each other names.
Tinman, trail users want to work with you . . . we want to create sustainable trails that everyone can use. Its going to take some work, we’ll need to educate hikers, bikers, pet owners and we’ll all need to pitch in. So pardon my “feel-good platitude” but I’ll continue to to be optimistic that we can all band together to improve our parks for everyone.
2008-11-20 13:00:19 -0800, Tinman said:
@Dale Dribble: I gather you’re one of the bike riders, given the way you’re trying shift the frame away from the actions of your guild and onto putative “name calling” and other rhetorical acts you want to classify as immature. Nice try, but that doesn’t work.
What I’m not hearing from you is any recognition that mountain bike riding in the officially designated Significant Natural Resource Areas is not only ecological unacceptable but also illegal. You guys have vandalized the Public Commons.
I’ll believe that you want “to work with us” when I see some evidence that you realize that your current activities are out of line and that you’re not going to continue them.
Some sort of bike course may be possible somewhere in the RPD lands, and I’d certainly be a big advocate for such — but that ain’t gonna happen in the Significant Natural Resource Areas.
2008-11-20 14:31:51 -0800, Dale Dribble said:
I’m NOT a biker, I’m a trail runner and hiker and I’ll admit that by hiking and running on these trails I am doing damage. Anyone who gets on these trails is doing damage. I do, however think these mountain bikers have a valid argument and they’re fighting a clean battle. One that I respect. No name calling and no stereotyping. I’m totally uninspired by the way you are dealing with this issue.
By building good trails we can make our parks more accessible while protecting them.
After having this discussion I’ve decided to take the side of the mountain bikers and all of the other people who are entitled to use these trails and want to improve them.
“For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use being anything else.”
2008-11-20 14:48:46 -0800, Tinman said:
@Dale Dribble: There are orders of magnitude difference in the damage made by feet vs by wheels — and that is the heart of the issue.
The bikers aren’t “fighting a clean battle”; they’re simply defying current policy and damaging the Public Commons. NO ONE is “entitled” to abuse these Significant Natural Resource Areas — no matter how much they enjoy doing so.
If it takes so little to make you “change sides”, then you were never on any other side to begin with.
2008-11-21 10:57:58 -0800, Ghak said:
>> @Dale Dribble: There are orders of magnitude difference in the damage made by feet vs by wheels — and that is the heart of the issue.
Tinman, that’s not an accurate statement. Now I wasn’t at the “race”, but events that get more of the public using our parks are a positive thing.
The facts are that many studies have shown that mountain biking has about the same trails impact as hikers. There is no “order of magnitude” difference.
Now while large group event (much larger than the organizers even hoped for) might not be best for these trails, it does show that the SF public is looking for more opportunities to use and enjoy our public spaces. Additionally, the mountain bike community in the Bay Area and California have shown themselves to be environmental stewards. Hardly any other user group donates as much time to park/trail maintenance as mountain bikers.
So instead of attacking these groups, perhaps you should try to enlist them — you’re likely to find a lot of support.
2008-11-21 12:43:42 -0800, Tinman said:
@Ghak: “Many studies have shown that mountain biking has about the same trails impact as hikers”?? There is no such study, and that claim is absurd on its face — as perfectly illustrated by the video of SF_FLOW.
And “Hardly any other user group donates as much time to park/trail maintenance as mountain bikers” is equally absurd. Every weekend volunteers with the Natural Areas Program are out in the parks and never do we encounter mountain bikers out there working with us.
It would be great to enlist all these grand environmentalists you claim the bikers are, but there is scant evidence that their concern for these ecologically precarious places is anything more than a convenient fantasy in your mind.
Instead, what we’ve just seen graphically is just the opposite.
2008-11-21 13:34:20 -0800, Ghak said:
Wow, Tinman. You’re obviously not very interested in a reasonable discussion. There’s many such studies, and throughout California MTB biking groups are among the top volunteers for trail and park maintenance. I’d post the links, but with your attitude, it’s apparently a lost cause. Google it yourself.
Of course, not much of volunteering has happened yet in SF, but then there hasn’t been much evidence of an MTB community in SF… until this recent event.
The Mt. Sutro trails (of which I see you’ve worked on) as you know have been designed with bikes in mind to great success. I was through those trails yesterday, no evidence of any damage or harm.
Additionally, as a frequent user of many of the area if SFNA supports, I don’t see signs or other areas that indicate “natural areas”. So how do you blame a group for not respecting those areas? How would they know?
Anyway, really a shame that you’ve got such a negative attitude when you’ve got all this opportunity around you.
2008-11-21 13:49:09 -0800, Ghak said:
And hey, I can understand that you’re angry about this event, after all the work you’ve done over the years. But it’s wrong to think these riders are your enemies, when they could be some of your strongest allies.
2008-11-21 16:38:30 -0800, Tinman said:
Actually, the trails on Mt Sutro run nearly entirely through eucalyptus/pine/blackberry/ivy wastelands so there is nothing important there that bikers, hikers, or anyone else could damage — unlike the areas on Mt D, Glen Canyon, Twin Peaks, and McLaren Park. Frankly, I think that Mt Sutro — unlike the other places — would be a fine place for mountain bikes.
Besides, Sutro is owned by UC and not RPD, so it isn’t even a Significant Natural Resource Area at all. We’ve included it here on the SF Natural Areas site merely as a courtesy to the volunteer groups who work there, but it is an imperfect fit.
Anyway, if MTBers would confine themselves to such places, there would be no problem. But the problem is that you want to ride over trails that the Natural Areas Program are trying to close because they run through sensitive habitats.
MTBers’ ignorance of where these critical areas are is only partly forgivable. The are no signs where there should be — largely because of RPD budget misallocations and inattention. Plenty of information is available, though: at the Natural Areas Program web site and its extensive set of management plan documents.
If MTBers were really concerned, they would have taken the time prior to this last event to find this stuff out. As it is, we’ll see what kind of true enviro cred you have by what you do from here on out.
I’d be glad to see some tangible evidence of all the good-will and high-mindedness that you and others claim to have. What I’m mostly seeing is your ducking the real issues behind ad hominem accusations of “negative attitudes” and the like. If we have negative attitudes about the MTB community, it’s because of its very visible very negative actions. It is those actions that are the problem, not our attitudes toward them.
2008-11-22 07:48:09 -0800, Tinman said:
@Ghak: I’ve looked at the “studies” out there purporting to compare impacts of mountain bikes vs hikers. What is there is actually a bunch of pseudo-studies produced by mountain bike advocates that prove nothing other than that the authors are fans of mountain biking and are determined to defend it. This review debunks these bogus studies thoroughly and convincingly.
In any event, the results of the current study right here in San Francisco are unequivocal: mountain bikes have had a strikingly destructive impact on our Significant Natural Resource Areas.
2008-11-22 12:56:53 -0800, Mojo said:
Tinman’s foaming at the mouth, hyper-aggressive ranting is the exact wrong way to get any kind of positive action on this issue. Indeed it makes it impossible to take him seriously or give his account of events any credibility. His “facts” are wildly skewed, starting with the 400 bikers number. The correct number of bikes was much closer to 150, for what it’s worth.
By the way, I was not one of those riders, but I completely support mixed trail use in all forms. With some calm, rational discussion I’m sure we San Franciscans can find ways to share our public spaces.
2008-11-22 14:46:56 -0800, Tinman said:
@Mojo: Nice. Yes I can tell that you’re just the sort of collaborative person who would be completely in synch with all the other volunteers working to protect and preserve our threatened remnant habitats in the SF parks.
2008-11-22 15:59:13 -0800, Tinman said:
It’s refreshing to see that there are some reasonable bikers out there after all even if they’re not in evidence in the comments here. But from the comments to the latest post at Soil Saloon:
Joe said: “Yep, you had some bad apples in the crowd that did some damage– but more importantly they damaged the good will and respect of trail and resource managers usually on your side. You’re right there are not dedicated mountain bike trails for you, it’s pretty damn selfish to believe that is possible in the limited resources of San Francisco. But now you’ve angered the people that advocated bikes being part of the shared trails (and all of San Francisco’s roads) So the rotten apples blew it for a few people. Since this was organized in a way that avoided accountability, then all the participants are accountable for the bad ones. Advocating that people should be cut slack for riding in areas that they shouldn’t because they don’t have their own trail is like me handing a beer to a guy playing golf in your back yard because there are no private country clubs in San Francisco. A lot of goodwill for the biking community was foolishly and ignorantly burned that weekend. Because of the way it was organized and no one was really counting heads, the “bad information being presented against us” is all the info you get. Next time engage the community who manages the resource rather than pissing and moaning when you get publicly slapped for being ignorant while having good intentions. Pat yourself on the back for organizing people in a surprising and amazing way, but also have what it takes to see where it went really wrong and put the hard effort into repairing bridges burned. So using the bad press to spin into a leter campaign on your behalf kinda misses the point that there are some serious and legitimate complaints that will continue to undo a lot of the hard one alliances if not squarely addressed with some additional humility along with the earnestness to advocate for the great life bikes create.”
Just a rider said: “Next time tell the skidiots to stay at home and make sure that the riders that do attend stay on the friggin trail. If you can’t ride a tame set of stairs then you should walk your bike. Highlighting a bunch of hacks bypassing those steps, skidding, and even crashing does not cast legitimate mountain bikers in a positive light.”
We can work with the "Joe"s and the “Just a rider”s of the world. They seem to be in the minority though.
2008-11-22 21:33:46 -0800, Dale Dribble said:
The bad apple working for a good cause is Tinman. Tinman, If we could get you to step down I think it would be easier for everyone to work together and come to some sort of a resolutions.
2008-11-22 22:56:27 -0800, green hill hiker said:
usually you come off as level headed tinman however this time it seems you’re making a lot of broad brush strokes and being very judgmental of a group you don’t seem to know much about.
i’m a hiker, a trail runner and sometimes cyclist (road biking mostly). i find you’re comments out of character, especially since i know from reading this blog semi-regularly that you are generally happy to have allies in what seems to be a constant uphill battle for the respect of the sensitive areas by the city’s residents, many of whom could seem to not care less.
i saw this particular group go through mt davidson while on their ride. your comments about them seem to come more from watching their video than from actually having seen them. i was trail running that day and my experience with them could not have been more different from what you’re describing them to be like.
while i saw two, maybe three of them veer off the beaten path a little bit, maybe less than a foot off to either side (one was stopping off trail to help another one who a flat inter-tube) i saw no ‘wild skidding’ or ‘digging’ as you describe. while i did see a little bit of that in the video they posted that you linked to, those kids seemed to be a bit wobbly in general and the visions you conjured up of rooster tails of soil didn’t materialize.
the portion of the trail that you’re claiming they ‘widened by over a foot’ has been like that for the last six months as well.
most if not all of them called out to me politely asking to pass and every single one of them was courteous. maybe but five in total just asked and didn’t say anything else, but most of them had bright comments about the weather or what a great day it was. you’re comments of piercing and tattoos must be about a different group as well as i saw no outward signs of massive amounts of either. i’d say the average age of the group was 35 or better.
i have never posted to this blog before, but i felt i had to as i felt that you were being too hard on what seemed to me to be a pretty benign group. by your own admission it’s not sign posted that it’s a sensitive area.
my neighbor is a die-hard mountain biker and i regularly see him going off on trial maintenance days, once a month or more. he tells me of the work they do and it all sounds like they do their share. maybe instead of railing against this group and labeling them ‘perps’ you could attempt to co-opt them? you get more flies with honey than with vinegar.
best of luck.
2008-11-22 23:01:45 -0800, green hill hiker said:
also, for what it’s worth… i’m a bit ocd and tend to count things when i’m out hiking or running. like telephone poles, red tails, crows, etc.
i only counted about one hundred and thirty people.
2008-11-23 08:23:51 -0800, Tinman said:
There’s a very simple way that mountain bikers can prove that they are as reasonable, conscientious, and committed to “working together” as they claim: they can show up at Natural Areas Program workparties and help out preserving the areas through which they want to ride.
There is abundant information at this web site about select projects, and the entire schedule is here. MTBers can contribute every single weekend of every single month — if they’re not just blowing smoke.
If you’re serious, then Suzanna — the volunteer coordinator at (415) 831-6328 or firstname.lastname@example.org — should be hearing from you ASAP.
We shall soon see exactly how serious you are.
2008-11-23 16:24:09 -0800, Stanfield said:
Here are a few interesting studies on the environmental impact of trails and their usage by hikers and bikers:
2008-11-24 08:15:46 -0800, Ghak said:
@Tinman. Don’t put too much stock in the Vandeman study. He built a we-deserved reputation as a kook. There’s a reason he was run out of the Sierra Club.
The study has been well discredited. Most of the other studies referenced in the paper are actually Vandeman’s own work… not the peer-reviewed pieces they’re purported to be.
2008-11-24 11:21:19 -0800, Tinman said:
@Ghak: OK, so Vandeman isn’t a good source; didn’t know that before. Then here’s the situation: mountain bike opponents produce “studies” that purport to show negative impacts, while mountain bike proponents (like IMBA) produce similar “studies” that purport to show the opposite. At best, we’d have to call this a draw.
But this is really beside the point, since the whole problem is that SF_FLOW caused clearly demonstrable damage to specific sensitive areas right here in San Francisco on 11/16/2008.
Even if 1000 studies “prove” that mountain bikers can avoid causing damage under some sort of ideal conditions, the fact is that they DID cause damage — and to locations that we’re trying to keep hikers away from as well because of the ecological sensitivity of the specific locations.
That’s why they’ve got official designation as “Significant Natural Resource Areas” — they’re important, sensitive, and their proper management precludes other sorts of uses.
You guys didn’t bother to find any of this out, but now you know. We’ll see whether in addition to riding, you’re willing to make good on your claims that you’ll help protect what it is that you want to ride through.
2008-11-24 11:43:03 -0800, Ghak said:
>> You guys didn’t bother to find any of this out, but now you know.
Easy there, Tinman. “You guys”? I wasn’t there. I’m not associated with any of the organizers, I just saw video and blog entries on the web.
But as a frequent visitor to Mt. Sutro, Tank Hill, Twin Peaks, & Corona Heights parks, I know that they’re nothing to indicate any “Significant Natural Resource Area”. So how can you blame hikers or bikers for treading across such areas?
The real problem is that a large group of people damaged areas that need to be protected. If you had 400 hikers as a group use those areas, you would have had the same damage.
If there had been any indication, I’m sure that almost any user group — legally sanctioned or otherwise — would have avoided it.
2008-11-24 11:43:43 -0800, Ghak said:
weird, I did not put cross out that text
2008-11-24 11:57:42 -0800, Tinman said:
The lack of signage is without question a big problem. But it’s only a symptom of the larger malady within RPD: upper management clearly devalues its own Natural Areas Program. Despite being responsible for 27% of RPD’s lands, the Natural Areas Program gets only 1% of the RPD budget and 1% of its staff.
It’s as if RPD wants the program to fail. Instead of celebrating the fact that against all odds — and unlike park systems in virtually any other major city — San Francisco has important remnant natural areas, RPD acts like it wishes they would go away. RPD could highlight these areas through signs, guidebooks, naturalist-led tours, and the like, but instead, it barely funds a few beleaguered staff to lead mostly volunteers to try to do the needed maintenance work.
So yes, you have a legitimate point about not being able to tell what’s there.
Sorry about what Textile did to the formatting in your comment; now fixed. (To get an m-dash, use two hyphens with spaces on either side, not a hyphen adjacent to a letter as you typed. That’s how you get a strike-through. The Preview button is always your friend.)
2008-11-24 22:07:58 -0800, maleonardphi said:
Tinman, I think you are missing the opportunity to recruit a large number of folks to come help work on the trails in SF. I for one try to help out at Mt Sutro when family life allows. I wasn’t able to attend the SF Flow event, but regularly ride my bike on Mt Sutro and Mt Davidson, responsibly. This comment of yours actually really frustrates me “Actually, the trails on Mt Sutro run nearly entirely through eucalyptus/pine/blackberry/ivy wastelands so there is nothing important there that bikers, hikers, or anyone else could damage” I have spent a lot of time over the last three years helping develop that network of trails. I hike there with my wife and son, and take my son on mountain bike rides up there. For you to say it is a wasteland seems extremely ignorant. Have you noticed the 80+ year old rock retaining walls, the garden on the summit, the work we have done replanting native species where we spent months removing blackberry bushes?
I think this is a perfect example of how one person just doesn’t appreciate another groups efforts. When people like yourself come out bashing a user group, who are trying to get involved to better the current situation of trails in SF, it is counter productive. Here was an event which showcased so much of what the city has to offer to outdoor enthusiasts. If even 10% of those people were encouraged to help build trails, in my mind, in the near future we would have much better green spaces.
I think it is safe to say that the people skidding, riding off trail, etc., are doing it because of a lack of education and guidance regarding proper trail preservation.
You portray the participants of the SF Flow ride as misfits and vandals, when in realty, they are computer programmers, chemical engineers, automotive mechanics, hard working citizens who are trying to enjoy the outdoors, just like yourself. The problem is, many of these people just need a 5 minute talk on how to be respectful to the trails. Sure, maybe the promoters should have done that. But, maybe they too need that talk.
However, what the promoters did do, was to encourage people to get out, enjoy what the city has to offer, AND try to get people involved. SF is a small place, and we all have to do our best to share. Hikers, bikers, dog walkers and many other user groups need to work with each other, and not bash one another. I hope to see you out on a Mt Sutro trail work day sometime soon. I’ll been riding my bike up there, feel free to introduce yourself.
2008-12-18 13:23:41 -0800, TereseL said:
Gee, wish I’d seen this string back in November. Tinman – I think you have a very good point but I do have to agree with the other folks that sometimes you express yourself just a tad too strong.
Have we done anything to contact the folks who arranged this ride and tried to come to talk to them or send an invite to the group to join us one day at a planting event – again, we do need to share the parks and I think that bikers should have trails but the Significant Natural Areas are just that – significant and natural. We need to protect them. Let’s see if we can work with the majority of mountain bikers who are reasonable and responsible.