The Coastal Post - April, 1998

Stinson Beach Blasts GGNRA And U.S. Park Service

By Stinson Village Association

To Supervisor Steve Kinsey

From The Stinson Beach Village Association

During the March 1998 meeting of the Stinson Beach Village Association (SBVA) a motion was unanimously passed to write you this letter describing our community's relations with the National Park Service and its Golden Gate National Recreation Area unit. The SBVA requests that you and the Marin County Board of Supervisors become actively involved in the resolution of the various conflicts arising from the land management policies of the National Park Service (GGNRA) around Stinson Beach and other West Marin Communities.

Although the GGNRA gives lip service to the concept of community involvement in its planning and decision making procedures, this simply does not happen. On the contrary, their decision making has been consistently unilateral and dictatorial. Our local experience in communicating community concerns to the NPS is that our wishes are dismissed, with little discussion and no comment. A few examples:

The last meeting of the leadership of the GGNRA held with Stinson Beach was in 1990. Because the "park" completely surrounds our town, we have no room to expand for such amenities such as softball, soccer, equestrian needs and other forms of active community recreation. Consequently the SBVA submitted a proposal to the GGNRA to create these community facilities in a field adjacent to our public school. Stinson Beach learned of the Park's opinion of the plan, when in a local newspaper the Superintendent publicly called our community's proposal "ludicrous." That was that... no further dialogue.

There has been a long enduring squabble between the GGNRA and our community about the number and timing of life guards to watch over the thousands of people attracted to our beaches by the very existence of the "Park." The GGNRA even has been rumored to plan to abolish the life saving program entirely.

Traffic control is another unresolved issue. On busy weekends the NPS provides rangers to unload hundreds of vehicles from the GGNRA beach parking lots onto the already clogged Highway One. They refuse, however, to assist the community in moving "their" traffic through Stinson Beach where it frequently backs up for over a mile! Our local safety and emergency systems are consistently being short changed or ignored by the NPS.

The Stinson Beach County Water District operates from year-to-year in a state of confusion relative to the District's permitted long-term use of GGNRA land for equipment storage and water facilities. The questions never seem to be resolved.

The most recent "hot" issue, which has been brewing for many years, is the Stinson Beach Community "Pony Pasture." Several pages about this conflict are enclosed for reference. The eviction of the two old tenant horses is just another attempt by the GGNRA to strong arm our community by removing a small (two acre) horse pasture, again eliminating an active recreation source from our Village. The Park Service letter (copy enclosed) states that they "have no other choice but to be as aggressive as possible in achieving" their objective. The aggressiveness has been their fundamental approach in community involvement and participation from the start. It is incongruous that the GGNRA has "recreation" in it's organic name. Their view of recreation seems to be hiking and unguarded swimming only!

The National Park Service is said to receive guidance from the GGNRA Citizens Advisory Committee. This is perhaps true, but certainly not on our local community related issues. The Stinson Beach Community has never been approached by this Committee or any of its citizen members. Our primary but limited NPS communication was via one very competent Park Service official who was later detailed away from Stinson Beach.

We, therefore, turn to you for help in our deep frustration over these matters. We request that at an early date you meet with representatives of our community to intervene on our behalf in an effort to establish a continuing, meaningful dialog between the National Park Service, Stinson Beach and other similarly impacted West Marin Communities.

A suggestion entertained at our meeting this month was that you convene and chair a meeting between top level GGNRA staff and the Stinson Beach community. The SBVA would be pleased to host and coordinate such a gathering. We want to work with the Park Service to maximize recreational opportunities and esthetic values for residents and visitors alike.

Cindy Adler, Roger Hurt, Web Otis, Richard Reasoner

Stinson Beach Village Association

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