The Surfrider Foundation San Francisco and Marin County chapters and Save Our Recreation are asking the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) to keep San Francisco and Marin beaches free from parking charges.
The GGNRA recently announced they are considering introducing parking fees at nine popular parks and sites in San Francisco and Marin including Baker Beach, Lands End, Sutro Heights, Navy Memorial, China Beach, Rodeo Beach, Fort Cronkhite, and Stinson Beach. If the fees go into effect, visitors would be charged $3 an hour with a maximum of $10 a day from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. to park.
“Parking fees will discourage Bay Area residents from using the GGNRA as it was intended to be used—as an urban recreation area,” said Andrea Buffa, co-founder of Save Our Recreation. “They will disproportionately impact frequent or daily visitors to the coast, especially those of low or fixed incomes.”
“In California, we’ve fought long and hard for beach access,” said Heidi Weiskel, Treasurer of the Surfrider Foundation Marin Chapter. “The California Coastal Act was signed into law in 1976-45 years ago. It’s that legislation that created the California Coastal Commission, which is charged with protecting the California coastline and maximizing public access. We want to respect that legacy and uphold everyone’s right to visit the coast.”
“The parking fees set a bad precedent for the local area, California, and National Parks. They open the door for fee increases as well as fees in other areas to be easily put into effect. We believe parking fees for visitors is fundamentally the wrong approach,” said Holden Hardcastle, Chair of the Surfrider Foundation San Francisco Chapter.
“We have all been going to these beaches since we were young and fear that a fee would deter us from doing what we love and what keeps us healthy,” said Mac
Swergold, President of the Tamalpais High School Surf Club. “With the lingering effects COVID has had on our community, some individuals still only feel comfortable exercising outside. School can be hard, but surfing can help relieve stress from daily life and improve mental health. By introducing a parking fee, students will be deprived of one of their greatest assets.”
In particular, the Surfrider Foundation and Save Our Recreation are concerned these parking fees would:
- Disproportionately impact visitors, especially low income visitors, and would serve as a barrier to coastal access;
- Threaten and damage sensitive habitat and private property when visitors park in unofficial lots or pull-outs in an attempt to avoid fees;
- Increase dangerous pedestrian traffic along roadways;
- Increase traffic congestion, resulting in long lines of idling vehicles, and safety hazards for pedestrians, bikes and cars, and emergency access;
- Set a precedent for fees to be enacted without the necessary assessment for the impacts to resources and public access.
The National Park Service is accepting public comments on its proposed parking fee increases through Sept. 26. Submit your comments through the Surfrider Foundation's action alert or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 415-561-4700.