Bay Area beachgoers can continue to enjoy free coastal access, as the National Parks Service (NPS) has announced they are dropping their controversial proposal to charge parking fees for the first time at many popular beaches in Marin and San Francisco. Had the fees gone into effect, visitors would have charged $3 an hour with a maximum of $10 a day for parking at Baker Beach, Lands End, Sutro Heights, Navy Memorial, China Beach, Rodeo Beach and Fort Cronkhite and Stinson Beach, which are all part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The NPS originally proposed the fees in late August and gave the public a 30-day comment period. Over 1,000 comments were received, most of which were in opposition. The Surfrider Foundation alone generated over 379 comments in opposition.
“We are grateful that the NPS heard the overwhelming concerns from beach goers and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Bay Area and will abide by the people’s wishes to keep the beaches in San Francisco and Marin free,” Said Jesse Wernick, Chair of the Surfrider Marin Chapter. “Safe and accessible recreational spaces are the right of all Californians.”
Maximizing equitable beach access for all is a primary goal of the Surfrider Foundation. Surfrider’s primary concerns were that the parking fees would have disproportionately impacted visitors, especially low income visitors, increased dangerous pedestrian traffic along roadways, and set a bad precedent for fees to be enacted without necessary assessment in the future.
“It’s wonderful to hear that NPS has decided to drop the proposal of introducing parking fees into their parks,” said Christine Simko, Vice Chair of the Surfrider San Francisco Chapter. “It’s an important step in the proper direction in keeping in alignment with coastal access being free, accessible, and adequately available for ALL—allowing everyone to fully enjoy the multitude of benefits that being able to reside in the breathtaking state of California affords us.”
“We would like to say thank you to everyone who made their voices heard, and to the NPS for listening to our concerns and maintaining free coastal access,” said Delia Bense-Kang, Surfrider Foundation Northern and Central California Regional Coordinator. “We hope that we can continue to work together to find ways to keep California beaches free and accessible to all.”