In 2005, when the National Park Service proposed banning fires on Ocean Beach altogether, more than 3,000 fiery opinions were registered during a period of public comment. As a result, the idea was extinguished.
That could happen again to a new proposal that would in part require permits for all fire pit use on Ocean Beach, not just for parties of 25 or more as currently mandated. With many still voicing their opinions and offering suggestions, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area has extended the comment period by two weeks to December 4th.
“We are still getting a lot of comments,” public affairs specialist for the GGNRA Adrienne Freeman tells the Chronicle. "The public comment period has the ability to change a decision or program," she says. "We are looking at viable and intelligent solutions.” So, please, try to offer only those.
Fires have long burned at the edge of the continent along the three-and-a-half mile Ocean Beach corridor. "When Golden Gate National Recreation Area was established in 1972, the park inherited a longstanding San Francisco tradition of beach fires," the new proposal, which you can read in full, notes. From 1983 through 2002, open fires, not just those in fire rings, were legal at Ocean Beach. In 2007, a permitting process was initiated for parties of 25 or more due to clean up costs, which had reportedly risen to $90,000 a year. It also included a collaboration with Burners Without Borders, who created some of the more artistic fire pits you see today.
The new permit requirement would pertain to all fires held at Ocean beach and cost $35 per fire pit. The City would increase funding from $60,000 to $185,000, for fire pit maintenance and "outreach and education," and proceeds from permits would go toward both maintenance and more fire rings, perhaps as many as 20 up from the current 12.
So go ahead, lodge a comment or two. If you're an old school NIMBY type, you can send one in by mail to the address below, and hey, how did you get online, anyway?
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Attention: Ocean Beach Fire Program
Building 201 Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA 94123