Update on Pillar Point Bluff Off-Leash Dog Pilot Program

 

Trail at Pillar Point by Lisa Ketcham

Many thanks to everyone who wrote or spoke up for wildlife at the Board of Supervisors in support of maintaining the existing On-Leash Dog requirements at Pillar Point Bluff.

Unfortunately, the Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 – the dissenting vote came from Supervisor Carole Groom – to allow a 12-month Pilot Program for Off-Leash Dogs at Pillar Point Bluff. As we previously pointed out, Pillar Point Bluff and adjacent Ross’ Cove beach and tidepools have more special status species than any other comparable County Park area. Many songbirds, raptors, and shorebirds, the federally protected California red-legged frog, and marine mammals, including harbor seals, elephant seals, sea lions, and sea otters, are found here.

Off-leash dogs can be a threat to many wildlife species, as well as to other dogs and people. The proximity of the bluffs to Ross’ Cove makes this a particularly bad place for off-leash dogs. The killing of a harbor seal pup by an off-leash dog in 2018 was horrific. We don’t know how many other incidents like this may have occurred, but even one is too many.

Our joint letter with Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation, Friends of Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, and Sequoia Audubon Society provides further details on why we urged the County to maintain the current requirements for all dogs to be on-leash at Pillar Point Bluff.

Supervisors Decision is Not the Final Step

Despite the outcome of the Supervisors vote, it is not the final step in getting the Pilot Program implemented. In January, the County Planning Commission will consider approval of a Coastal Development Permit for the Pilot Program. We will let you know how you can participate in their public hearing.

Should the Planning Commissioners vote to approve a Coastal Development Permit, we will appeal their decision to the California Coastal Commission. Off-leash dogs are inconsistent with the public access requirements and sensitive habitats policies of the California Coastal Act and the County’s Local Coastal Program.

With increasingly severe droughts, flood events, sea level rise, and massive species extinction predicted as a result of climate change, we all need to do everything possible to ensure that County parks fully protect and steward our irreplaceable natural resources while continuing to provide safe and accessible parks for all to enjoy.

Thanks again for speaking up for wildlife!

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