Pesticides in our Parks – Bernal Hill

The Natural Areas program (now called the Natural Resources Department) regularly uses herbicides in many of our parks. We’ve published pictures before of Glen Canyon and Mt Davidson.

This time, it’s Bernal Hill.

This hill apparently needs herbicides.

So they’re putting Polaris – that’s imazapyr – on the blackberry and cotoneaster.

It takes a five-person team.

[Edited to Add this section about the famous Bernal Hill Blackberry Patch.]


Hope they don’t take out the famous Bernal blackberry patch that’s brought so much joy to families.

It’s a thing, and has been for years. Here’s a 2008 article called Bernal Hill Blackberry Bonanza.  And here’s a quote from a 2009 article in the SF Chronicle, indentifying hidden treasures in San Francisco: ‘Bernal Hill Blackberry Patch. “The locals might hate us for sharing this, but there is a huge wild blackberry patch on the north side of Bernal Hill where we forage pounds and pounds of berries every summer for jam-making. So delicious.”‘ And the Bernalwood blog hailed the start of the blackberry season in 2012 in It’s Official: Blackberry Season Under Way in Bernal Heights

SFRPD – people love blackberries, and Bernal has the best crop in the city!

San Francisco Forest Alliance stands for no pesticides in our parks. We also hope that SFRPD will respect public resources that people love.

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3 Responses to Pesticides in our Parks – Bernal Hill

  1. Tony Holiday says:

    Can you post this on Facebook so you (or I) can share with Bernalwood. Maybe some of their readers will read and protest. This is a beloved dog walking area, AND there is a resident coyote who lives here. Thanks. I have seen such signs elsewhere, of course, Billy Goat Hill for one. Lots of people love Bernal Heights Park …

    [SFForest: Will do. Check our FB page! It’s at ]

  2. Tony Holiday says:

    I tried to post this info to the FB Bernalwood page but unable to share the original post on their site. There was no share option on FB for sharing it with them. Tried twice to post what I could of it and it did not show up either. They may be monitoring it before they post it, if they do post it at all. Assumed that if they had a FB page they would have a “Share” option.

  3. miss415 says:

    I have collected many handfulls of delicious berries from the Bernal bush over the years and there have not been any berries at all. With all the rain we had last season, I would have expected a hardy crop but the bush looks terrible. They had to have sprayed it. I hate SF RPD and what they are doing in city parks. They are so misguided and ignorant that is is sickening.
    I live between Stern Grove and Glen Canyon in the Ingleside Terraces neighborhood and walk dogs in both parks regularly. Very recently I noticed lots of clearing of heavy brush near the pond at Stern and along the creek in the Canyon. This coincided with an uptick of frequent encounters in my neighborhood. I have seen coyotes many many times while walking dogs and never had an issue until recently while bringing my foster dog into my house from the car- parked directly in front of my home- a coyote came up behind the 12 lb dog and was within 3-4 feet, its head hung low about to grab her! When I turned around, it darted between 2 parked cars and ran across the street. The dog was on a short leash about 4 ft and I was on high alert. I think I got lucky.
    When they clear away this heavy vegetation near water sources, it is very disruptive to the coyote habitat and habitat that provides food & shelter to small mammals like rodents that is their preferred prey. This drives coyotes out of parks and into surrounding neighborhoods in search of food. The homes in my neighborhood are detached and have big front & backyards easily accessible to coyotes. Residents are NOT allowed to put up fences and expected to maintain “an open park-like setting” as stated in the CC&Rs.
    It would be much better for human & pet safety if RPD was mindful of this idea and managed areas with prime coyote habitat with what COYOTES NEED so they did not need to look for it in densely populated neighborhoods which only creates more and more opportunities for conflicts and endangering our pets.
    In 2015, my HOA hired Mary Paglieri to help us. We just decided to hire her again in Jan 2018. She is a behavioral ecologist which is someone who studies how animal behavior is impacted by changes in the environment. This is highly specialized, cutting edge branch of conservation ecology. I wanted to mention Mary here because I think the activists, the scientists, environmentalists and practitioners need to be connected and united as much as possible!
    Thank you so much for this blog and all you do!

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