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Bernal Hill

Bernal Hill

The NAP plan for Bernal Hill desires to expand native grassland and scrub mosaic habitats.  NAP designates all of Bernal Hill as a “natural area”.  The premise for such is the protection of “sensitive species and habitats”.  The actions to be taken by NAP include:


         Elimination of many “social trails” commonly utilized by people and dogs (p.6.21-7).

         Visitors to the park will be restricted to designated trails which may be fenced if NAP feels it is necessary to prevent erosion (p.6.21-7,8).

         Destruction of non-native trees, plants and shrubs at NAP discretion. Please click here to see NAP Director Lisa Wayne's definition of a tree (refer to item #4)

         Reduction in “predation pressure”.  This would refer to the killing of feral cats and any other wildlife NAP deems unacceptable (p. 6.21-7 and GR-7, p.5-6).

         A large portion of the hill will be changed to on-leash; essentially off-leash dogs will be limited to the paved pathways and flat areas only (p. 6.21-8).

         The 21-acre off-leash area (Dog Play Area) will be reduced to 13 acres, an almost 40% reduction. The remaining 8 acres would require leashes. The report states:  “there is opportunity to expand the DPA below Bernal Heights Boulevard to mitigate for the reduction in DPA above the road.  If the DPA is expanded to include the area below the road, then the overall reduction in DPA acreage would be 3.5 acres or approximately 17 percent of the existing DPA."  There is no promise by SFRPD/NAP to expand the DPA.


The fallacy in the Bernal Hill NAP proposal is that it violates the underlying premise for NAP.  As stated by NAP Director Lisa Wayne, “preserve what is left of the original habitat and protect it from further degradation…enhance these little remnants that are degraded”.  There is little or no “original habitat” on Bernal Hill.  There are no State or Federally identified endangered or threatened species on Bernal Hill.  All “sensitive” species referred to in this plan are designations given by the California Native Plant Society and the Golden Gate Audubon Society.  These are designations made by local enthusiasts/activists, not designations that anyone is obliged to regard with any importance. 


NAP is not mandated to destroy ecosystems and create habitat by eliminating plants and wildlife a few native plant and bird enthusiasts find objectionable.  Voters did not authorize NAP to eliminate recreational areas in SF parks under these circumstances.  It would never make sense to create a nature preserve in a high-use recreational area.  The NAP proposal as written intends to do just that at Bernal Hill and at many other SF park locations.


NAP refuses to reveal to the voters the cost of implementing their program at this park.  It can be argued that the funds would be better spent in more productive ways, e.g., maintenance of existing facilities.

Pine tree