What’s special about McLaren Park?
In response to a 1920’s campaign slogan, “Our People Need This Breathing Space,” the wild acres composing John McLaren Park were set aside from development for the purposes of recreation, restoration, and the general enjoyment of future generations.
Fortunately for all of us, over the decades, precious sections of the park have remained wild, providing a unique open space to escape the rush and rattle of city life. You can run with your dog on meandering trails, watch hawks soar above, and listen to an ever changing aria of birdsong as you stroll through groves of redwoods, acres of coyote scrub, and rolling hills of grasslands and wildflowers. The park has indeed honored John McLaren’s wish of providing a place of “unspoiled alpine joy in the City.”
Why is disc golf in McLaren Park a bad idea?
We welcome activities that get the public out in nature. However, here are three (of many) reasons we believe disc golf is not a good fit for McLaren Park:
Disc golf courses cause well-known environment damage, including: accelerated erosion, trampling of undergrowth and constant stripping of leaves and branches by discs flying at highway speeds. Our ongoing documentation of the Golden Gate Park course shows that the habitat degradation there in the last few years is significant, undeniable, and ongoing. The current disc golf proposal calls for active recreation infrastructure in natural areas of McLaren Park designated for passive recreation and wildlife habitat.
History highlights of disc golf in San Francisco:
1997 A 24-hole disc golf course is proposed for McLaren Park. At Rec/Park public forums, community members express fierce opposition, causing the SF Disc Golf Club (SFDGC) to withdraw its proposal.
2002 Rec/Park approves SFDGC’s request for the construction of a 12-hole temporary trial course at Golden Gate Park –the course is built and usage by players begins
2005 After reviewing GG gardeners’ and naturalists’ concerns of environmental damage caused by the sport, the Rec/Park Comm. approves the permanent upgrading of the GG 12-hole course to an 18-hole course and, to the disc golfer’s surprise, grants a bonus 18-hole course for McLaren Park. This decision was not agendized prior to the meeting, nor was there notification of McLaren neighbors.
2010 In March, with a few posted fliers, Rec/Park finally notified the McLaren community of its plans to begin construction of a disc golf course that summer. In response, neighbors formed the group, Save McLaren Park (SMP) and hundreds of concerned angry citizens packed a Rec/Park informational meeting. Later in the year, respected environmental groups such as the Sierra Club, SF Tomorrow, and the California Native Plant Society join our cause as well as many community business and social groups. SMP’s analysis of government documents produces a timeline that convinces Rec/Park Open Space Advisory Comm. (PROSAC) to call for a proper public hearing on the issue. Later, in that same June meeting, Pres. Buell admits the missteps of Rec/Park and calls for a public hearing.
Save McLaren Park asserts the following:
Some interesting facts and figures: