10 • 20 • 2021
Keep National Parks Free From Fees in San Francisco and Marin
We did it!
Bay Area beachgoers can continue to enjoy free coastal access, as the National Parks Service (NPS) has announced they are dropping their controversial proposal to charge parking fees for the first time at many popular beaches in Marin and San Francisco. Had the fees gone into effect, visitors would have charged $3 an hour with a maximum of $10 a day for parking at Baker Beach, Lands End, Sutro Heights, Navy Memorial, China Beach, Rodeo Beach and Fort Cronkhite and Stinson Beach, which are all part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The NPS originally proposed the fees in late August and gave the public a 30-day comment period. Over 1,000 comments were received, most of which were in opposition. The Surfrider Foundation alone generated over 379 comments in opposition.
“We are grateful that the NPS heard the overwhelming concerns from beach goers and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Bay Area and will abide by the people's wishes to keep the beaches in San Francisco and Marin free,” Said Jesse Wernick, Chair of the Surfrider Marin Chapter. “Safe and accessible recreational spaces are the right of all Californians.”
Maximizing equitable beach access for all is a primary goal of the Surfrider Foundation. Surfrider’s primary concerns were that the parking fees would have disproportionately impacted visitors, especially low income visitors, increased dangerous pedestrian traffic along roadways, and set a bad precedent for fees to be enacted without necessary assessment in the future.
“It’s wonderful to hear that NPS has decided to drop the proposal of introducing parking fees into their parks,” said Christine Simko, Vice Chair of the Surfrider San Francisco Chapter. “It’s an important step in the proper direction in keeping in alignment with coastal access being free, accessible, and adequately available for ALL—allowing everyone to fully enjoy the multitude of benefits that being able to reside in the breathtaking state of California affords us.”
“We would like to say thank you to everyone who made their voices heard, and to the NPS for listening to our concerns and maintaining free coastal access,” said Delia Bense-Kang, Surfrider Foundation Northern and Central California Regional Coordinator. “We hope that we can continue to work together to find ways to keep California beaches free and accessible to all.”
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is considering introducing parking fees at seven parks and sites in San Francisco and Marin to help pay for the costs to provide operations for the growing numbers of visitors at parks. If the fees go into effect, visitors would be charged $3 an hour with a maximum of $10 a day at Baker Beach, Lands End, Sutro Heights, Navy Memorial, China Beach, Rodeo Beach and Fort Cronkhite and Stinson Beach. These fees would be in effect daily, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Take action HERE
The GGNRA is an urban recreation area used by millions of people in the Bay Area, many of whom use these open spaces every single day in order to hike, run, surf, bird watch, board sail, walk their dogs, or simply be outside.
We are concerned these parking fees would:
- Disproportionately impact visitors, especially low income visitors, to the coast and can serve as a barrier to coastal access.
- Threaten and damage sensitive habitat and private property when visitors park in unofficial lots or pull-outs trying to avoid fees.
- Increase pedestrian traffic along roadways and increase traffic congestion, resulting in safety hazards for pedestrians, bikes and cars.
- Set a precedent for fees to be enacted without the necessary assessment for the impacts to resources and public access.
The California Coastal Act provides consistent guidance with policies designed to maximize public access. Relevant locations must be appropriately evaluated as to how well access is provided to all visitors and what impacts parking changes might have on that access. The public’s right to visit the coast must be protected and, if possible, improved.
Click HERE to make your voice heard today! Tell the GGNRA these fees are not warranted and demand that the California Coastal Commission review this proposal and uphold the California Coastal Act.
The National Park Service is accepting public comments on its proposed parking fee increases through Sept. 26. Submit your comments by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 415-561-4700.