Forest Alliance appeals Rec and Park’s new natural areas plan

 By Lizzie Johnson and Emily Green : SFChronicle – excerpt

Last month, the Recreation and Park Commission OKd a maintenance plan for the city’s natural areas. But controversy surrounding it hasn’t died down.

The San Francisco Forest Alliance has filed an appeal with the Board of Supervisors, saying that many of the claims in the comprehensive new plan are unsubstantiated and too far-reaching. It will be heard Feb. 28 at the board’s regular Tuesday meeting.

“The environmental impact review must be adequate, accurate and objectively analyzed in order for its certification to be legal,” the Forest Alliance said in a release.

The plan has been in the works since 2006 and will review the biology and geology of the Recreation and Park Department’s 32 natural areas and trails, including Mount Davidson, Twin Peaks and Bernal Heights. Members of the public with wildly differing views spoke for 6½ hours during a commission meeting’s comments period in December.

Some said the plan would restore native habitats. Others said parts of the plan would drastically alter the parks they love. The biggest point of contention centered on Mount Davidson, which under the plan would lose 3,500 non-native blue gum eucalyptus trees over the next 30 years.

At December’s meeting, commission President Mark Buell cautioned those opposed that the plan was a framework and not set in stone.

Funding for parts of the plan, including cutting down the eucalyptus forest, also has not been identified.

If the nonprofit — which fights perceived threats to public parks — is successful, the plan’s environmental impact review will be sent back to the city’s Planning Department for further review… (more)



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