S.F. plans to alter golf course to save Animals

November 8, 2009 at 11:09 AM 1 comment

San Francisco Recreation and Park officials recommended Friday that the city-owned Sharp Park in Pacifica be retained as an 18-hole golf course, but that the course be modified to protect the habitat of a federally protected snake and threatened frog.

Environmentalists and golfers have been at odds over the fate of the course by famed designer Alister MacKenzie. The proposal came in response to two long-awaited consultants’ reports made public Friday that studied various scientific and financial options to protect the San Francisco garter snake and the red-legged frog.

Revising SF Golf Course

The most drastic scenario – pushed by some environmentalists – would restore the entire Depression-era, 18-hole seaside golf course to natural habitat, shutting off a popular recreational destination for golfers that hosted 54,000 rounds last year. Another looked at keeping just nine holes and transforming the rest to a more natural state.

The one embraced by San Francisco parks chief Phil Ginsburg would keep the course whole but move the 12th hole, now located in the southwest corner of the property and closest to a lagoon and pond that serve as an important wetlands habitat for the snake and the frog.

Two other holes near that area, the 10th and the 13th, would be shortened or narrowed, and others would be renumbered. Under the proposed reconfiguration, a fifth hole would be added to the east side of Highway 1 where there are now four. That approach, Ginsburg said, would be the least disruptive to golfers and achieve crucial protections for the vulnerable species.

“My responsibility is to balance competing uses and competing interests, given scarce open space and scarce resources,” Ginsburg said. “We think this recommendation does that. I hope this is a coming together for the environmental community and the golf community.”

His recommendation – which doesn’t end the discussion but kick-starts a new round of robust debate – would cost an estimated $5.9 million to $11.3 million, and potentially be the least expensive of three alternatives considered. The funding sources have not been nailed down.

Ginsburg said he would like to see the cost spread among San Francisco, Pacifica, San Mateo County, the state and federal governments, and golfers.

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Entry filed under: Conservation, Green Help. Tags: , , , .

Yosemite upgrades natural by design Al Gore in Newsweek: The Plan That Saved The Planet

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