It’s been a year since the San Francisco Forest Alliance (SFForest) was formed by concerned individuals and members of community groups from across the city as an all-volunteer organization. In November of 2011, SFForest held its first meeting. Since then, we’ve accomplished more than we would have thought possible.
We constituted ourselves into a 501(c)4 not-for-profit entity, so we could take political action as needed. We have been working to inform people about what’s happening in our parks and to our tree-scape – the destruction of trees and habitat, the rising use of pesticides, the access restrictions to the public, and the skewed funding priorities of the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, especially the so-called “Natural Areas Program.” We stand against these environmentally destructive activities that ignore public priorities.
In this year, we’ve put out thousands of flyers and posters, built two websites, and published about 100 articles on our blogs. We’ve helped save the trees of Jefferson Street that were to have been cut down without replacement in a “beautification” project. We’ve engaged with the community and with civic leaders, and spoken at relevant forums and at City Hall. We’ve launched two petitions that garnered nearly 3,000 signatures each, and built an energized base of supporters. We’ve interested the Press in these issues, and that’s resulted in a number of articles. Read on for the details.
- The Website and Blog.We’ve created an advocacy website to let people know what’s happening, and to fight against the destruction. In one year, we’ve published nearly 100 articles in this and a second site specific to Glen Canyon Park.
- We’ve initiated two petitions, one against the Natural Areas Program, the other against tree-felling in Glen Canyon Park. Each got around 3000 signatures before it was presented to the Supervisors and the Mayor. [Read about that HERE and HERE.]
- We’ve distributed thousands of flyers and posters.
- We’ve created an email list of supporters.
- We’ve held two standing-room only rallies. The first was at Miraloma Park; the second at Glen Canyon Park. [Read the report on the Miraloma Park rally HERE and the Glen Canyon Park rally HERE.]
- In Glen Canyon, we followed up with a street protest. [Read about that HERE.]
- We’ve organized an informational walking tours of Mount Davidson. [Read about the first Mount Davidson trip HERE.]
IN THE NEWS
- We’ve engaged the interest of the press. [Read about that HERE.] There have been articles in local papers, community newsletters, and national newspapers.
- the Wall Street Journal,
- the Sacramento Bee,
- the Examiner,
- the San Francisco Chronicle,
- the Pacifica Patch,
- the Miraloma Park Monthly,
- the SF Weekly, and
- the West Portal Monthly.
ENGAGING THE COMMUNITY
- Joel Engardio, one of the major candidates in the closely-contested District 7 race for supervisor, made opposition to NAP a platform issue. The Westside Observer included it as a question for the candidates. We engaged with all of the candidates in the Supervisor elections, sending out a questionnaire about these issues.
- We’ve made presentations about the problems caused by the Natural Areas Program to a number of community groups: The Miraloma Park Improvement Association; The Golden Gate Heights Neighborhood Association; The Greater West Portal Neighborhood Association; the Diamond Heights Neighborhood Association; the Sunset Heights Association for Responsible People, and the McLaren Collaborative.
- The West of Twin Peaks Central Council, which is an organization of neighborhood associations, after our presentation (and an opposing one by the SFRPD), passed a resolution to take NAP back to the 1995 plan. This resolution was supported by the vast majority of the membership – all Westside neighborhood organizations – with no negative and few abstaining votes. [Read about that HERE.]
- We also engaged with city leaders. We’ve met with Supervisors and with SFRPD leadership, with the Department of the Environment regarding pesticide use, and brought the issue before the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Advisory Council (PROSAC).
- We made funding of NAP an issue in the 2012 Parks Bond, and negotiated to have trails excluded from the Bond, except for Golden Gate Park and McLaren Park. “Trails” was used as a surrogate for work pertaining to the Natural Areas Program and actually involved closing more trails than they built.
- We’ve been speaking at various public hearings and forums and commenting on relevant actions of the city.
- We’ve been calling out SFRPD on the misinformation they’ve been spreading. When they put out a propaganda video about the Natural Areas Program, we countered with a video rebutting the propaganda. [Go HERE to read about it and watch both 5-minute videos.]
- We got the comment period reopened on the Draft Environment Impact Report (DEIR) on Significant Natural Resources Management Plan (SNRAMP), and when that happened, we submitted a thorough and detailed comment regarding the DEIR. (Read about that HERE.)
- We helped save the trees of Jefferson Street. [Read about that HERE.]
- Now we’re helping save the trees of Glen Canyon, which are threatened by a number of projects planned for the Canyon. [Read about that HERE.]
We’ll conclude with updates on some key issues:
- The release of the Final EIR for the Natural Areas Program’s SNRAMP has been delayed until Spring of 2013 – perhaps due to our petition drive and the many additional comments submitted during the second opportunity we created for that.
- The planned 2008 Park Bond “trail restoration” project for Mt. Davidson (which we expect will mean felling a number of trees) has also been postponed until an unknown time.
- The Glen Canyon Park project involving tennis courts, the playground, and a grand new entrance to the Rec Center – and the felling of nearly 60 trees – has been delayed, as the appellant has appealed for a re-hearing. For now, no tree-felling has started. The Trails project in the Canyon has not been initiated, but a lot of clearing of the understory and trimming of trees along the planned trail is happening nonetheless. The few trees identified as hazardous by the city’s hired arborist still have not been addressed.
We will be posting updates requesting involvement of our supporters as appropriate in these and other issues as they develop.