Two recent dispatches from the Sharp Park Front in the continuing San Francisco Golf War:
Snakes to inherit Sharp Park golf course
by Bruce Balshone
March 26, 8:10 PM
On Tuesday, March 17, San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi introduced legislation (see item 090329) aimed at turning the Sharp Park Golf Course in Pacifica into a biological reserve, much to the dismay of golfers and Pacifica city leaders.
The venerable course, which opened in 1931 was designed by famed architect Alister Mackenzie and landscaped by John McLaren, is actually owned by the City and County of San Francisco despite sitting squarely within the City of Pacifica.
For years, the Sharp Park Golf Course in Pacifica has been a target of environmental concern, particularly by the Center for Biological Diversity, a national organization which advocates for the protection of biological resources and endangered species. The web site, www.restoresharppark.org, sponsored by the Center, details the basics of the proposal.
The Center had threatened a lawsuit against the City and County of San Francisco for failing to adequately protect species such as the endangered San Francisco Garter Snake and the Red-Legged Frog, both of which call portions of the Sharp Park Golf Course home.
In lieu of filing a lawsuit, the Center agreed to negotiations. But amidst rumors of the Center’s dissatisfaction with the progress of those negotiations, Supervisor Mirkarimi was enlisted to introduce legislation to force the issue. According to the language of the proposal the ordinance would amend the San Francisco Park Code Article 3 by adding Section 3.20, to require the Recreation and Park Department to develop a plan, schedule and budget for restoring Sharp Park habitat for the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake in conformance with the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, and transferring Sharp Park to, or developing a joint management agreement with, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area...
The leadership of the City of Pacifica has taken strong exception to being forced to accept the edicts coming out of San Francisco regarding the golf course, even though the property belongs to San Francisco. The course is heavily utilized by not only golfers but the clubhouse is used as an event center for the community and a meeting space for all kinds of organizations, including the Pacifica Democratic Club which has held its meetings at the Sharp Park club house for years.
In response to Mirkarimi’s maneuver, Supervisor Sean Elsbernd – who has been sympathetic to the concerns of the City of Pacifica – has asked the City Attorney to review the possibility of making the course an historic landmark. Such status would end any possibility of removing the golf course.
Will Sharp Park Golf Course become a nature preserve?
By Julia Scott Staff Writer
Posted: 03/23/2009 02:59:16 PM PDT\PACIFICA —
The peace and quiet of Sharp Park Golf Course seemed surreal Monday in contrast with the controversy surrounding it.
Golfers teed off without seeming to know that their days on the course could be numbered.
Disagreement over the future of the golf course, located in Pacifica but owned and maintained by San Francisco, ruptured into a public schism last week when two members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors offered differing visions for managing the property — including an option to close the golf course and transform it into a wildlife preserve to protect two threatened species, the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake...
The course was designed by well-known golf course architect Alister MacKenzie, who also built Augusta National Golf Course in Georgia.
Longtime Sharp Park golfer David Diller, president of the Sharp Park Golf Club, does not like the idea that he and his fellow golfers may be an endangered species themselves. Flooding on the course, a seasonal occurrence, has partially closed the 14th fairway, and existing protections for red-legged frogs prevent pumping the water out when the frogs are laying their eggs in the spring. "There's always this misconception that if you're pro-golf you're anti-environment — but nothing could be farther than the truth," Diller said. "(Sharp Park) has been there for over 70 years. If we're doing such a terrible job, why are there still San Francisco garter snakes and red-legged frogs?"
San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and The Center for Biological Diversity - Idiots? Liars? Or both? You decide.