December 9, 2016

Commercial dog walking on federal public lands

The Presidio Trust is proposing to accept the conditions of a San Francisco ordinance that would permit a commercial dog-walker to bring as many as eight dogs at a time into the Presidio.

Commercial dog-walking is not legal in any of the almost 400 units of the National Park System. The Trust’s proposal would institutionalize a use that is not compliant with park policies and should not be allowed. It constitutes an exploitation of park lands for private financial gain and is not compatible with park values, park resources, and good visitor experiences.

The Presidio is federal park land, and the Trust manages only “Area B”, the developed area of the park; the rest, mostly perimeter, is managed by the National Park Service (NPS), which is in the midst of a multi-year rule making process on allowing dogs in the Presidio and the rest of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. If the Trust establishes its own policy, we do not believe that the Trust intends to devote resources to enforcing it, and the NPS would have to expend its limited resources to police its part of the Presidio.

Adverse impacts of dog-walking include noise, disturbance to quiet park use, odors, harassment of wildlife, damage to soil and plants from dog urine, and loss of tranquility. Visitor parking would be occupied by commercial vehicles, which would be ubiquitous on park roadways. There could also be public-safety issues from packs of dogs on trails and at program sites. Many people, especially children and the elderly, are afraid of dogs.

The Presidio Trust should postpone any consideration of adopting the city’s dog-walking policies until the NPS publishes its own policies and requirements.

The Sierra Club joined with five other organizational members and individuals in the Presidio Environmental Council’s comments to the Presidio Trust’s Proposed Use Limit on Commercial Dog Walking; Revised Disposal Conditions (36CFR 1002).

Becky Evans, chair, Sierra Club San Francisco Group


  1. Wow, this is as short as it is biased. Of course, some of the concerns are valid – though too vague: “park values, park resources, and good visitor experiences”? Parks hold no values, people do; which visitors, I presume, not dog walking visitors?

    We do not ban all people from the park, just because some of them throw trash on the ground, or poop in the woods. So why pick on dog walkers?

    The lamest argument is “an exploitation of park lands for private financial gain.” What of the human who walks, without a dog, to increase his productivity next week at work, as he relieves stress and recharges? This is also for private financial gain! Ergo, ban all humans who walk with such intentions.

    The parks are public, not of dog haters alone. They should be shared, responsibly, and civility and social monitoring can be helpful. I have no problem with licensing professional dog walkers or personal trainers who use the parks.

  2. Environmentalist says:

    Incredible, this must have been written by a real dog hater. I have never seen so many wrong things in one article.

    Can you scientifically prove that dog walkers (commercial or not) create “noise” that “disturbes” quiet park use? (More than say, humans, cars, …)

    Can you scientifically prove that dog urine is bad, more than say, raccoon urine, coyote urine?

    Can you somehow prove that “especially children and elderly” are afraid of dogs? The opposite is true – kids LOVE dogs and it is good for kids to grow up with dogs and if you can show that there is a correlation between age and dog love then you’ll win the nobel prize.

    NO FACTS, just plain BS and hate. This is exactly what YOU guys always despise at the anti-global-warming-people, but you are not better at all.

    BTW Which sort of odors are you referring to? Or do you want to ban packs of body-spayed adolescent boys also from the park? Or is it the abuse of the Sierra Club’s name and resources for a single dog hater (the author of that article), that stinks?

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