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The Future Still Unclear for Sharp Park: Golf Course or Wetlands?

December 16, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO - The future of Sharp Park is still up in the air.

San Francisco supervisors have approved an ordinance to transfer the city-owned park to the National Park Service, but Mayor Ed Lee is threatening a veto, saying he wants more time to review other options.

Brent Plater, president of the Wild Equity Institute, says the park is plagued by crumbling infrastructure and ongoing flooding problems and is in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

"The golf course loses money every year; it kills two endangered species - the San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog - and it's inconsistent with the recreational preferences and demands of modern Bay Area residents."

A survey by the Park Department, Plater says, found that hiking trails are the primary recreation priority for San Francisco residents. Golfers want the seaside course to stay open because the green fees are affordable. The ordinance doesn't mandate the golf course be closed, but opponents assume that will happen.

Plater says the ordinance makes sense because it simply requires the city to compare options with the National Park Service against options it has been pursuing with other parties to manage Sharp Park.

"We believe that once those options are reviewed in the light of day through a public process, it'll become very clear to the city that the best option to pursue for everyone is a new National Park partnership at Sharp Park."

Sharp Park is surrounded by national park properties, so Plater says the plan would be to integrate the parks.

"Create connecting trails between the Bay Area Ridge Trail and the Coastal Trail, which is on the beach at Sharp Park. Possibly providing some other kinds of recreational opportunities like group campgrounds, and most importantly putting a visitor's center for the National Park Service in San Mateo County.

Lee has until Dec. 23 to issue a veto.

More information is online at savethefrogs.com.

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA