Save Our Launch Sites! Toll Plaza, Berkeley, Racetrack, Point Isabel, Marina Bay & Pt. Pinole Threatened
We're writing to urge you to vote for our current East Bay Regional Parks Ward 1 Director, Elizabeth Echols. There's a big difference between the two candidates in the November election, and we believe that Echols is by far the better choice for inclusive parks, accessible to all.
We represent a broad range of parks user groups who rely on our parks for recreation, arts, youth education and development, and access to nature on our crowded urban shoreline and hills. We hike, run, cycle, hold arts festivals, play music, kayak, paddle board, windsurf, kiteboard, fish, and walk with our families, our students, and our dogs. It has never been more evident how critical these scarce open spaces are for the East Bay community’s mental and physical health.
Our East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) parks are overseen by a board of directors. You have the opportunity to help elect the Director of Ward 1 this November. Ward 1 includes the communities of Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Kensington, part of Pinole, Richmond and San Pablo. The EBRPD parks in Ward 1 include Brooks Island, Kennedy Grove, McLaughlin Eastshore State Park (which includes shoreline areas in Emeryville, Berkeley, Albany, and Richmond, plus Albany Beach), Miller/Knox, Point Isabel, Point Pinole, Sobrante Ridge, Tilden, and Wildcat Canyon.
As a lifelong environmentalist, Ms. Echols has been a careful steward of the rich habitat of our parks and also understands the importance of access to nature for people in the East Bay. Ms. Echols, in addition to having the endorsement of every current EBRPD board member, has worked closely with diverse user groups to understand their concerns and those of all parks stakeholders. For example, she played a critical role in getting Point Isabel re-opened after it was closed during the early days of the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order. Her strong advocacy for that reopening was a manifestation of her understanding of how important our regional parks are for the well-being of all visitors: walkers, joggers, elders, people with disabilities, children, and people with dogs. Echols listens, builds consensus, and gets things done.
By contrast, her opponent, Norman La Force, poses a threat to the enjoyment of and public access to our regional open spaces. He has a long history of using lawsuits to stop park projects from moving forward. Those actions have cost the park district hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and thousands of hours of staff time -- scarce resources that could have been better spent on park improvements.
Mr. La Force focuses narrowly on wildlife habitat without a reasonable sense of the importance of balancing preservation and recreation. His approach has often been divisive and shortsighted. He opposed the extension of the Bay Trail from Buchanan Street to Pt. Isabel in 1995, kayaking and access to the water in many parts of the McLaughlin Eastshore State Park, bicycle use on fire roads, and rowing by the Berkeley High School girls crew team in Aquatic Park lagoon. He sued EBRPD, unsuccessfully (three times), to remove kiteboarders and people with dogs from Albany Beach. Time and again, he has tried to eliminate areas where people can bring dogs to parks, but now poses with a dog on his website while claiming he supports dog-friendly policies.
We need board members who want people to engage more with our parks, not board members who put up barriers to those parks. For our urban shorelines, we need parks that invite everyone to experience the waters of the Bay first-hand.
As the current Ward 1 Director, Ms. Echols has already demonstrated her skill at navigating complex demands from various groups. While Mr. La Force has a history of advocating through the singular lens of limiting human access, Ms. Echols understands the importance of balance: of encouraging people to connect with their parks, become stewards of them, and ultimately to cast their votes to support, improve, and sustain them long-term. Ms. Echols listens, Mr. La Force brings lawsuits.
The East Bay Regional Park District is almost 200 square miles of open space, including shoreline areas and protected waters. Its 73 parks include two island bird sanctuaries and multiple protected marshes and preserves. Its bounty sustains habitat, wildlife, and the entire East Bay community.
We urge you to vote for Elizabeth Echols for Director, Ward 1, to ensure effective stewardship of and access to this unique treasure. Please vote for her in November and please go to her website now to support her campaign:
Most importantly: Please share this letter with your friends and family NOW. Their mail-in ballots will be arriving shortly.
Signed by the following park advocates, users, and volunteer stewards:
The SFBA supported the Sphere Institutes application to the State Lands Commission to create a public park on the vacant parcel located at 410 Airport Blvd. in Burlingame. I'm pleased to inform you that the application was indeed selected and they secured a short-term lease with the SLC. The Sphere Institute with collaboration from the SFBA are now deeply immersed in design development and preliminary permitting on our way towards engaging the CEQA process with the SLC. The current concept design for the park includes a kite-surfing staging area and put-in ramp.
Standard horizon HX40--- has to be tethered does not float, PFD had lanyard sewn into the pocket. Standard Horizon HX 210 larger form factor but floats, still fits in pocket but antenna has to stick out the side of the top of the pocket, still should be tethered.
Neilpryde elite high hook floatation vests
https://www.neilpryde.com/collections/floatation-vests/products/high-hook-elite-ce50 They run small, I wear xl-2xl.
ACR Firefly Pro Strobe SOLAS
Dakine hook knife
https://www.dakine.com/products/hook-knife-w-pocket zip tie to PFD
Helmets too , any certified EN 1385 Water Sport rated .
Message from National park service community liaison. "I have checked in with everyone and we understand there may continue to be confusion out there about all the jurisdictions and overlapping SIP guidance.
We trust that everyone (visitors and USPP officers alike) all have the same goals in mind: doing our best to flatten the curve. We appreciate that in practice we all need to know what the rules are so we can be on the same page.
Your summary of what happened below is not how I, nor the folks I consulted, understand it. Specifically, “unless they walk or bike in from living nearby” is not a consideration that we have heard so far with regards to San Francisco.
All USPP officers and NPS rangers would be writing violations surrounding closures (links to lists of areas below.) Currently there is not any enforcement mechanism with regards to only folks living near-by entering the parks.
The National Park Service guidance for Golden Gate National Recreation Area remains the same: park areas are mostly open, with parking lots and some roads closed. Specific guidance for areas can be found here:
Our neighbor, the Presidio Trust, has their own list of closures, found here:
San Francisco shelter in place orders can be found here:
Please continue to monitor these websites into the next week as things may change with new Shelter in Place orders expected to follow after these expire (around 5/4/20.) Both park management agencies will be reviewing and making the best decisions for each of their management areas in consultation with surrounding jurisdictions."
This response above was from SFBA inquiry about last Monday.
See here: While parked at the palace of fine arts, a park police officer told them through a loudspeaker that they cannot go to crissy to recreate unless they walk or bike in from living nearby, and that starting tomorrow park police officers will be issuing warnings, and that after that they will be issuing $1,000 tickets that require a court appearance to get resolved.
One officer did also come over and speak personally with a few people, and she said that NPS will be enforcing the mandate of the City.
Everyone we know wants to be in compliance with the SIP and most are taking great care to maintain social distancing when they come to Crissy. People were definitely confused and upset by what occurred today.
As far as everyone knows as of today, SF did not write it into the health orders that people are prohibited from driving to a different neighborhood to exercise (as compared to San Mateo). SF has an FAQ that was updated on April 24. It says people can go to parks or open spaces that have not otherwise been shut down, so long as they abide by social distancing.
Are you able to find out what is happening with NPS threats of enforcement - and what exactly are they enforcing - or let me know if I should reach out to anyone else?
Hello, the SFBA is concerned about your safety, particularly in progressing from a beginner sailing venue, to a more intermediate and advanced sailing site as you progress. I am sure everyone is keen to get out on the water. Please review this in depth resource guide on sailing sites in the greater bay area.
As early as today (Monday, March 23) you may see a lot of folks gaining access to the marsh and gathering large debris including treated wood from inside the lagoon and edges of the marsh.
There will be a dumpster and some trucks staging in the East Beach parking lot near the restrooms.
The work will mostly be done by hand, though some large debris may be floated out and then brought up through the beach.
The work is expected to take 3-5 days.
The SailGP 2020 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) has been published and is open for comments. It may be found at the following link.
Both San Francisco Boardsailing Association and local sailors have had some difficulties in negotiating with the SailGP organizers. The event was run in 2019, and the exclusion notice proposed a finish time of 3:00. However, the organizers made an effort to change the hours until 4:00, after the public comment period had closed. That request was turned down by the Coast Guard at the request of SFBA. Their on-water chase boats also tried to clear windsurfers and kiteboarders from a much larger area than the exclusion zone, and were chastised by the Coast Guard and told to stop.
Last October, we agreed to support extension of the closure hours until 4:00. At that time, they told us that they expected racing to be complete by 3:00, and the hour from 3 until 4 was a contingency provision. We asked in return that they make sure that they directed overflow parking from the Saint Francis Yacht to alternative lots, and not to Crissy. We thought we had reached an agreement. We reasoned that if Crissy parking was not usurped by SailGP spectators, extension of restrictions to no later than 4:00 would allow sailors to get onto the water with still enough time to get in a session. Now they propose an exclusion zone that would last until 5:30, and an exclusion zone for on-water spectators that restricts the water area through most of Presidio Shoal, nearly to the Blackaller Buoy, which would essentially eliminate the potential for sailing on May 3. A smaller exclusion area is proposed for May 2 that would allow sailors to tack upwind and reach the center bay if winds are not too northerly.
Sail GP organizers have explained that “...the reasons behind the request [is]…the possibility of a live international broadcast.” While the Coast Guard has broad authority to regulate on-water activities for safety reasons, it appears that the motive behind SailGP’s abrogation of our agreement is to increase their potential for revenue.
The comment period for this rule-making closes March 30. We urge those with concerns to express them to the Coast Guard. The following is part of an e-mail that has already been sent to the Coast Guard.
For sailors of all kinds, the waters offshore of Crissy Field in San Francisco are one of the wonders of the world. There are literally dozens of races held there each year, from the iconic Big Boat series, to the more prosaic Thursday and Friday night kiteboard and windsurf races. The waters are used by many others, including paddle boarders for their iconic race to Ocean Beach, outrigger canoes, kayaks, and fishing boats. Most of these activities occur without disruption to other users, relying on common courtesy and the right-of-way rules of the water to allow users to participate simultaneously. Only a few events—America’s Cup, Fleet Week, and SailGP seek restrictions on other users.
The right of access to the water is so important in California that it is enshrined in the State Constitution. California has taken a number of steps to assure that access is protected, from establishing the nation’s first coastal program to adopting legislation to encourage development of a Water Trail. Crissy Field has been designated under the Bay Plan as an important recreational beach where access for windsurfing is protected, and has also been designated as a Water Trail site.
I am a board member of the San Francisco Boardsailing Association. Our mission is to protect the safety of our members and ensure that access to the water is protected. We work with other groups such as the Bay Area Sea Kayakers to cooperate in our efforts to protect and increase access.
Crissy Field is particularly important to our members. While kayaks and many other craft can be launched at more than 50 sites along the Bay, and while the Bay Trail is an effort to provide continuous access along the entire Bay, there are only a handful of sites where it is possible to launch a windsurfing or kiteboarding rig. Crissy is particularly valuable because of its sandy beach launch, parking areas at both a City and National Park, and grassy rigging areas.