Say No to Off-Leash Dogs at Pillar Point Bluff

On Tuesday, November 9, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors will consider allowing off-leash dogs at Pillar Point Bluff, a coastal gem adjacent to the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach. Speak up to protect the sensitive wildlife there! Please email the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors by 5 pm today, opposing off-leash dogs at Pillar Point Bluff.

What’s Happening

County Parks is proposing a pilot program that would allow off-leash dogs at Pillar Point Bluff under new rules requiring that: (1) Off-leash dogs must be under voice and sight control, (2) dogs must remain on designated trails within view and earshot, (3) only two off-leash dogs allowed per visitor, and (4) no dogs are allowed at Ross’ Cove beach and/or tidepools at any time.

Pillar Point Bluff is a Local Biological Hotspot

Pillar Point Bluff and adjacent Fitzgerald Marine Reserve have more special status wildlife species than any other comparable County Park area. Rare coastal prairie grassland, seasonal wetlands, and coastal scrub provide habitat for the federally protected California red-legged frog as well as many songbirds and raptors. Marine mammals, including harbor seals, elephant seals, sea lions, and sea otters can often be spotted at the foot of the bluffs at Ross’ Cove; all are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Off-leash Dogs Can Be a Threat to Wildlife and May “Recreationally Displace” Park Visitors

Just as dogs love to chase balls and frisbees, they instinctively will chase birds and other wildlife. At Ross’ Cove, an off-leash dog ran down to the beach from Pillar Point Bluff and killed a harbor seal pup in 2018. We don’t know how many other similar incidents may have happened in this infrequently patrolled area, but even one is too many.

Off-leash dogs have been known to attack other dogs as well. Many on-leash dog walkers will avoid areas where off-leash dogs are allowed. In addition, off-leash dogs can “recreationally displace” people – in contravention of the public access requirements of the California Coastal Act – as they jump on people who are fearful of dogs, and even have bitten bicyclists.

Other Off-Leash Dog Areas Are Available Nearby

Half Moon Bay’s Coastside Dog Park is only 7 miles from Pillar Point Bluff, Pacifica’s Esplanade Beach is 11 miles, and Fort Funston is 17 miles. El Granada’s Quarry Park, also proposed for the County’s Off-Leash Dog Pilot Program, is just 2 ½ miles away.

What You Can Do

By 5 pm Monday, November 8, send an email to the County Board of Supervisors, asking them to maintain and enforce current rules that only allow on-leash dogs at Pillar Point Bluff.  If you can, please also attend the Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, November 9 beginning at 9 am. Please note that there is another controversial item before this – proposed revisions to Supervisor District Maps – so it is not possible to predict what time this item will be heard.

Thanks for speaking up to protect wildlife! Your voice does make a difference!

P.S. Here is a joint letter by Green Foothills, Sierra Club, Surfrider, Sequoia Audubon Society, and Friends of Fitzgerald Marine Reserve submitted to the Board of Supervisors on this issue.

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