The Rally we announced on this site a few days ago was a roaring success. The response maxed out the capacity of the Miraloma Park Improvement Clubhouse. Volunteers were watching the parking lot, because people had to double park. The room was full, people were spilling out, and some couldn’t get in at all. (For which we apologize. We’re planning another meeting to make up for it.)
The agenda started with a presentation by Eric Miller, President of San Francisco Forest Alliance (SFFA), about the problems of the “Natural” Areas Program (NAP): Public access restrictions, tree and habitat destruction, toxic pesticides, and most important, misguided priorities in funds allocation so the NAP is funded while public programs and amenities are closed. (CLICK HERE for more details about NAP.)
This was followed by a talk by Dr Morley Singer and Paul Rotter of SaveSutro, who explained the threat faced by the 80-acre Sutro Cloud Forest on Mount Sutro. Of this, 61 acres are owned by UCSF, and 19 by the City, also under the NAP. Thousands of trees are planned to be cut. (CLICK HERE for more details.)
Then Jacquie Proctor explained the plan for Mt Davidson under the “Significant Natural Resource Area Management Program” (SNRAMP, pronounced Sin-ramp). The Sin-ramp plans to fell 1600 trees on Mt Davidson, including clear-cutting up to 83% in some areas. (CLICK HERE for more details.)
The audience was engaged and indignant. For many of the audience, the first they had heard of any plans for tree removals was from the outreach by SFFA. The question period was very lively.
Here are excerpts candid comments of one attendee (printed here with permission).
The turnout was great! Folks did a good job of getting the word out! I was impressed with the program. And you had so many facts & numbers on hand.
Some comments and ideas:
1) Seems like many in the crowd were there because they are directly affected, e.g. Miraloma neighbor who love the Mt. Davidson trees, Glen Park visitors, etc. All four issues are important (trees, pesticides, trail closure, budget) but I think the $$$ might emphasized… Not everyone goes to or sees [particular parks such as] Mt. Davidson, Glen Park, Sutro, McLaren, but most people know about the loss of playground directors, limited rec center activities, the rundown filthy bathrooms. And most of the audience pays property tax… It cost $9,000 per application of pesticide!!!
…how many applications of pesticide = 1 full-time gardener?
Parcel 4 was a good example of how NAP money is wasted, e.g. . [Ed: “Parcel 4” is the Sutro Dunes project.] [Other] areas are [also] planted, then neglected as they revert back to naturalized vegetation.
2) I like how Eric gave his background to show he was not an activist, but just a regular parent who understood budget cuts, until he realized how money was being spent to work AGAINST his park interests. It made it easy for the audience to identify with him.
3) The girdled trees were good photos. Might describe girdling in more detail (i.e. how it kills the tree). Also, I think it’s OK to state “—, a native plant advocate, was convicted of killing trees.” When I told that to [someone] who had come to the rally she gasped & said, “OMG I’ve bought plants from him. I know he’s a little weird, but killing trees???!!!”
It’s a good illustration of the “ideology” that Eric referred to.
4) Nice that Twin Peaks photos were included. Shows what the end result of cutting Mt. Davidson/Sutro trees might look like (and STILL need pesticides). Folks know that Twin Peaks looks barren and is windy & cold…
5) It was good for people to hear that the Sierra Club [SC], California Native Plant Society [CNPS] (not the “native plant society” as Eric & Jackie called them), work with NAP and are NOT our friends. NAP & SC and CNPS have been operating under the radar since the mid 1990s, without the required public approval and oversight. I was surprised to hear Jackie say that SF tree legislation does not apply to NAP areas. Why is NAP above the law? (Especially when the city can dictate & charge fees & fine homeowners for taking down a street tree!).
8) I really liked Morley Singer’s catchy “Don’t waste time arguing with the native plant groups. It’s like arguing Women’s rights with the Taliban” and “Put away the video game and fight a real enemy.” At the same time pointing out how California Native Plant Society works the system.
9) It was good how Eric stated individual actions are good, but group actions are very powerful.
This would have been a good opportunity to give folks an action plan.
The observer is right. Many wanted to know how to help. Several people signed up to volunteer. We’re still getting back signature sheets.
Thanks everyone who came! And apologies again to those wanted to come but couldn’t get in. There’ll be more.
Meanwhile, if you would like to volunteer and didn’t sign up then, please email us at SFForestNews@gmail.com, or write us at SFFA, P.O.Box 460668, SF, CA 94146.
CLICK HERE if you’d like to help gather signatures for the petition. You can direct people to the big green button, or download a copy and print it.