Glen Canyon Park Update

Well, it’s done. The grove of trees that graced the park’s Elk Road entrance is now a bunch of stumps and mulch. Here’s what it looked like when the cutting had just started, and what it looks like now.

this scene will be gone

the trees are gone

The Rec Center stands forlorn, shorn of all its groves.

this avenue is gone


Former Alms Rd devoid of trees

The same avenue – picture from the opposite side. All the trees in the picture above are gone.

A lady came up as I took some photographs. “It’ll get better,” she said. “It’s a shock, but it’ll get better.”  Well, yes. How could it possibly get worse?

(We don’t know if they’re completely finished. Some of the posted trees still stand, but those are behind the Rec Center Building. We don’t know if they’ve been spared, or there will be a second round of tree-cutting.)


But there is some better news. The gnarly acacia trees that children love to climb – most of those are still there, particularly tree #22. We don’t know if SFRPD has decided to spare them, or if they’ll be cut later. When I went by, a family was playing on the lawn and their little boy – maybe 2 or 3 years old – was trying to climb one. He was little and the tree was big, but he was determined…

number 22 the climbing tree is still there

The owl tree looks promising, and when we went by, there wasn’t much disturbance. Great Horned Owls can tolerate a lot as long as they’re not threatened; after all, this pair have raised their broods where people walk their dogs, and children play. So we are hopeful.

splendid wildflowers

The canyon is just splendid with wildflowers, even prettier now than before. The grass is a brilliant green, the oxalis almost neon yellow, and drifts of mustard a warm gold.

wild mustard flowers

Wild radish interrupts with pink blossoms, and occasional California poppies add orange exclamation points. The eucalyptus is flowering.

It’s bee heaven out there, and I’m pleased to say the last remaining bee tree (of the three that existed only two years ago), seems to be flourishing. I saw a bees coming and going in a peaceful but busy way.

the remaining bee tree


Trail Work Begins in Glen Canyon Park

The trail work has begun in Glen Canyon Park. Here are some photographs:

2013-01-15 (1) 2013-01-17 (1) 2013-01-17 2013-01-15 2013-01-17 (2)

Speak Up: Rec & Park Glen Canyon Renovation Meeting – 7Jan 2013

[This article is also posted on]

This is your chance to ask the tough questions about the Glen Canyon Park Renovation Project—poor community process, piecemeal tree removals, wasteful spending that squanders much of the $5.8 million, or anything else related to this project. We have heard from many who are quite dissatisfied with the decision-making process, lack of transparency and wasteful spending with this project. SF Rec and Park representatives and Supervisor Scott Wiener will be present, and you should be too.

Forest and fog

Forest and fog


Glen Park Rec Center Auditorium
Monday, January 7, 2013
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
70 Elk Street (entrance between Sussex & Chenery)

See the Rec & Park meeting notice HERE

In Glen Canyon Park our $5.8 million gets us…

The Good

  • New ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible bathrooms, courtyard, and street-side drop-off area on Elk street
  • Heating system in the Rec Center
  • Larger and improved playground
  • Removal of one hazardous tree and some pines that are dead or near end-of-life

The Bad

Same number of tennis courts but moved to a slightly different location, orientation of the new courts has been criticized by local tennis players

(For $5.8 million couldn’t we at least get an extra court or an outdoor racquetball court or two, or the floor repaired in the gym?)

The Ugly

  • MarkedTrees6We lose beautiful landmark old-growth eucalyptus trees that are being chopped down to make way for pathways highlighting native plant gardens.
  • We lose 50 other trees being chopped down, while nearby trees rated as “hazardous” by the arborist are left in place.
  • This “taxes to chop trees” plan is just the beginning – projects to follow target hundreds more.

Chopping down 100 year old trees and getting some saplings in return is an extremely bad trade. It is a bit insulting that RPD and politicians think we are stupid enough to think this is a wonderful trade-off. It is kind of like expecting an Eskimo to be happy with a bag of ice cubes after you destroy his igloo.

Overall. Rec & Park’s arborist deemed 504 of 627 as “poor suitability”, just like most of the 58 trees coming down with this first removal project. The three currently funded projects will remove 149 trees and no one knows whether the remaining “poor suitability” trees will be removed piecemeal with each new project to keep winding back the botamical clock to an time when San Francisco was most dune and rock with few trees.

Just more of the same “Restoration Ecology”

The same group of administrators, managers and stakeholders driving the NAP “restoration ecology” plan for our parks are targeting the trees of Glen Canyon Park. Rec & Park’s NAP plan for our parks set the following goals:

  • Elimination of over 18,500 “non-native” trees in SF parks
  • Closure of over 9 miles of recreational trails, 19 acres of dog-walking areas, and elimination of other park features
  • Establishment of native plant gardens requiring ongoing maintenance that require thousands of volunteer hours and toxic herbicides

All these “restoration ecology” projects hurt the people, wildlife and pets that need our parks.

For more information visit or

We hope to see you at the meeting, Monday, January 7th at 6:30 in the Glen Canyon Rec Center!

Glen Park Appeals Update

In view of the appeal to the Board of Supervisors (which we wrote about HERE), neighbor Anastasia Glikshtern has decided to withdraw her (separate) appeal to the Board of Appeals.

(This would have been a re-hearing, and was scheduled for 5 p.m. today, 12-12-12.)

The appeal to the Board of Supervisors stands.

[Edited to Add: The appeal for the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was ruled “untimely” which meant that the only option left was a legal appeal. WiserParks (formerly ForestsForestsForever), which had filed the CEQA appeal, decided against that step. The project will proceed.]

Glen Canyon Park: Another Appeal Submitted

Edited to Add: The appeal described below was ruled “untimely.” This left the possibility of legal action by the environmental group WiserParks (formerly known as ForestForestForever), which they decided not to pursue for practical reasons.

Environmental group ForestForestForever has submitted an appeal to the Board of Supervisors requesting that the City re-examine their environmental compliance for the Glen Canyon Park Renovation Project. The project had been scheduled to start in October 2012 with the felling of nearly 60 trees, a prelude to the destruction of hundreds of others.

This tree is to be felled

This tree is to be felled

As SFForest noted in its post, Under the Radar, when the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department filed for an exemption under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), it said that none of the proposed work would be in the “Natural Areas” of the Park. This enabled it to get a permit to go ahead with the project without doing an Environmental Impact Review (EIR).

CLICK HERE to read that article: Natural Areas Program Under the Radar in Glen Canyon

As the map clearly shows, a substantial portion of the contract area is in fact in the Natural Areas. What is proposed for that area  – the removal of trees and replanting with native plants – is exactly what the Natural Areas Program wants done. (SFRPD claims it will plant 163 trees. Two problems: Half of them are actually bushes and shrubs, not trees; and actually only 113 “trees” are in the contract.)  CLICK HERE to read what they say they’ll do: A New Planting Plan for Glen Canyon.

sm Diagram of Natural Areas Contract Area oct 29 2012


Besides the issue of SFRPD making erroneous statements,  there’s a more important matter at stake. An Environmental Impact Review would need to review all the actions planned for the area, cumulatively. This would mean that SFRPD couldn’t split up the projects, minimizing the impact of each one, as it has been doing. Even if the individual impacts are not huge, cumulatively they will change the Canyon drastically.

In an EIR, SFRPD would have to consider the total effect of cutting down hundreds of trees in a relatively small area, the impact of pesticide use especially because it is near a water body. It would need to consider the overall impact of the Rec Center Project, the Trails Project, the Forestry Project, the Natural Areas Program, and any new work planned now under the 2012 Bond. It would probably also need to consider plans for Twin Peaks and Mount Davidson, which are part of the watershed of Glen Canyon Park and Islais Creek

From ForestForestForever’s press release (slightly edited): “According to environmental regulations, changes in the same area must be reviewed cumulatively. All the Canyon plans and assessments call for cutting down hundreds of trees in the Canyon – plus Rec & Park has plans to cut down thousands more trees in nearby city parks such as Mt Davidson. Along with allowing one to escape from city living, trees are home to forest wildlife and absorb air pollutants, sequester carbon, and release oxygen and are the “lungs” of the city.”


The spokesman noted that they “made the decision to take this action after the matter had gone before the San Francisco Board of Appeals, and was rejected. At the November 14th 2012 Board of Appeals hearing, the Board President, Chris Hwang, expressed serious concerns about this ‘flawed public process,’ and added that she felt that because the Board of Supervisors had exclusive jurisdiction over environmental review issues, it had ‘hamstrung’ the Board of Appeal’s ability to choose a different course.

ForestForestForever  also noted that it was surprising that the City tried to bypass “bedrock environmental regulations and the local guidelines that are required of ordinary citizens and businesses.”

Natural Area Program’s Pretty Propaganda – and Some Truth-Telling

This is republished from

The Natural Areas Program’s response to its critics is a very pretty piece of propaganda: This Youtube Video. Please do watch it, it’s under five minutes of lovely images and soothing voice-over.

Only… it’s remarkably misleading.

The “biodiversity hotspot”? That applies to all of California, not just San Francisco. The pretty yellow flowers in the meadow? Those are non-native plants that NAP hunts down with pesticides like Garlon and Roundup. (The poppy shown close-up in the next frame is not from the same meadow.) The happy dogs on Mount Davidson? They’re off-leash, something the Native Areas program has been fighting tooth and nail.

(Don’t try to comment on the NAP’s Youtube video, they’ve blocked comments.)

Watch the real story here, there’s lots more. How much misdirection in 5 minutes? See our 2-minute rebuttal video for yourself.