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STATEMENT OF RUSSELL R. MILLER, PRESIDENT, THE JOHN MCLAREN SOCIETY, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF.
Mr. MILLER. Mr. Chairman, my name is Russell Miller. I am president of the John McLaren Society, San Francisco, which is dedicated to parks and open spaces.
Mr. Chairman, I will just summarize in view of the time my testimony saying that my society and I am in favor of the Burton proposal and we would like to see those areas that are not being used by the military at this time being turned over to the Department of the Interior; and by way of example, Mr. Chairman, the military itself, the Presidio, San Francisco, has filed with the city of San Franciso maps and plans in the past and they have asked-especially a map in 1969, that they filed with the city of San Francisco they put aside many of the wooded lands for housing. I think there is an indication that there has been nothing filed with the city to change that and it is an indication of what they would do if left with the lands.
I would ask the committee to look favorably on Congressman Burton's proposal and turn the unused lands, the open spaces over to the Department of the Interior.
Mr. TAYLOR. Does that conclude your statement?
Mr. MILLER. Yes, it does.
Mr. TAYLOR. Just one question.
You say the areas that are not used by the military should be turned over to the Department of the Interior. Does that include Crissy Field?
Mr. MILLER. No, it doesn't. It includes the wooded areas; it includes the areas along Baker Beach where there is now housing. Really, south of a line if you extended Lombard Street across the Presidio, on one side, the north side, Mr. Chairman, it is mostly housing and military installations. On the south side, roughly it is almost all the open space and tree area.
Mr. TAYLOR. Any other questions?
Thank you very much, Mr. Miller.
(Prepared Statement of Mr. Miller follows:)
STATEMENT OF RUSSELL R. MILLER, PRESIDENT OF THE JOHN MCLAREN SOCIETY
Mr. Chairman and Honorable Members: My name is Russell R. Miller. I appear to testify in support of Congressman Burton's Bill, H.R. 9498. I appear as a concerned San Franciscan and as President of the John McLaren Society.
This Society, named after the major creator of Golden Gate Park, is dedicated to the protection and advancement of parks and open space in San Francisco.
My particular objective in testifying before this body is to call to your attention the urgency of assigning control of unused Presidio lands to the Department of the Interior, as called for in Mr. Burton's Bill.
Other proposals and others who testify will argue that control should remain in the hands of the military. We believe that the remaining 546 acres of unused Presidio land represent a priceless historical and recreational resource and, to assure their preservation as such, control must be transferred away from the Department of Defense.
We submit that the history of the Presidio under control of the military has been one of expansion. This is persuasive evidence that the future will bring more of the same unless control is transferred to an agency that will regard
the Presidio as more than a bottomless pit of cost-free land for military and nonmilitary use.
We submit that the hazards of leaving control in the hands of the military are too great to risk.
Today the military will tear up the 1969 master plans and agree not to build 368 family housing units nor to destroy eucalyptus groves. But what will tomorrow bring? How do we know that when the Congressional spotlight turns elsewhere there won't be a sudden military need which will result in a unilateral decision to renounce agreements previously made. To guard against this eventuality we urge that control be placed in the hands of an agency whose dedication is to the protection and preservation of our natural environment.
We believe that this transfer of control of presently unused land can be made without adversely affecting the military mission of the Presidio or the smooth operation of the Sixth Army Headquarters.
We also believe that without this transfer, the first objective of Mr. Burton's Bill "to preserve for public use and enjoyment certain areas possessing unique natural, historic, scenic and recreational values . . ." is in serious jeopardy.
Mr. TAYLOR. Arthur Coleman; on deck, Julia Frederick.
Is Arthur Coleman here?
Julia Frederick; on deck, Dwight C. Steele.
STATEMENT OF JULIA W. FREDERICK, MEMBER, DOCENT COUNCIL, AUDUBON CANYON RANCH, STINSON BEACH, CALIF.
Mrs. FREDERICK. I am Julia Frederick and I am a member of the Docent Council of the Audubon Canyon Ranch. The ranch is located on Route 1 off Bolinas Lagoon in Marin County.
Much as we support the need, both nationally and regionally, for a Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the Docent Council is unanimously convinced that the Audubon Canyon Ranch should be excluded from the boundaries suggested by Representative Burton's bill.
To support this statement, I would like to outline briefly for you the ranch and its educational program.
Audubon Canyon Ranch now comprises 1,000 acres of undeveloped land, all purchased with volunteer help and by private donations, some of it through San Francisco Bay Area school children donating blue chip stamps. In 1967 the Junior League of San Francisco gave a $44,000 grant for 3 years to train 136 volunteers like myself in the principles of ecology and conservation.
This extremely successful program has sent us into classrooms all around the San Francisco Bay Area, giving slide lectures followed by field trips to Audubon Canyon Ranch.
The completely volunteer program can be continued indefinitely if the Audubon Canyon Ranch remains in its present ownership and environment. Our visitor tally is over 25,000 people per year and the ranch is open to everyone, free of charge, during advertised hours. It is, in addition, an oasis of quiet in an increasingly noisey world. We urge you to visit the Audubon Canyon Ranch while you are here in the bay area. We shall be delighted to welcome you. Mr. TAYLOR. Any questions?
Thank you for your statement.
Mr. TAYLOR. Dwight C. Steele; on deck, Richard Goldman.
Richard Goldman; on deck, Jean B. Siri.
STATEMENT OF RICHARD N. GOLDMAN, CHAIRMAN, EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, CITIZENS WATERFRONT COMMITTEE, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF.
Mr. GOLDMAN. Gentlemen, I represent the Citizens' Waterfront Committee of San Francisco. Our organization has been concerned for approximately 1 year with the orderly development of all of the San Francisco waterfront.
We have given our immediate attention first to opposing the development of high-rise buildings on our waterfront and, second, to developing concepts for an orderly and public oriented usage of this most precious resource.
I have just returned from a week of hiking in the high country of Yosemite National Park. Throughout our journey, I was always reminded of the farsighted commitment to future generations by President Theodore Roosevelt in providing the leadership to establish a National Park Service in 1916.
By contrast, we visited Lake Tahoe at the end of our journey where we witnessed the potential destruction of another marvelous natural resource because of the greed and irresponsible development of selfishly motivated commercial organizations. As a result, emergency measures must be taken or Tahoe will become an unfit body of water for public use.
In the past several years, we have witnessed a number of efforts on the part of the Army with the support of our present mayor to turn over approximately 20 acres of the Presidio to the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare for a Food and Drug Administration building, and to turn over 20.5 acres of the Presidio for two elementary schools. Fortunately, both programs have been stopped because of the protest raised by a limited number of people and organizations dedicated to protecting as much of this natural resource as is still undeveloped.
Your subcommittee has the opportunity to make another noble contribution to preserving a priceless portion of our natural beauty. You will join those men of vision who recognized the necessity for taking action on a given date for the benefit of future generations.
We recognize that the secondary issue of public protection has been introduced. We believe the primary issue is to place the designated portion of the Presidio under the jurisdiction of the one agency which is committed to serving the end you are seeking.
Therefore, we urge you to support the Burton bill transferring portions of the San Francisco Presidio from the Department of the Army to the Department of the Interior to protect the designated area in perpetuity.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you.
Jean B. Siri; on deck, Jack Murphy.
STATEMENT OF BARBARA VINCENT ON BEHALF OF JEAN B. SIRI, WEST CONTRA COSTA CONSERVATION LEAGUE, RICHMOND, CALIF.
Mrs. VINCENT. My name is Barbara Vincent. I am speaking for the West Contra Costa Conservation League. I have also been asked by Mr. Will Siri of the Save San Francisco Bay Association to state publicly for your records that the Save San Francisco Bay Association also heartily endorses the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The West Contra Costa Conservation League is dedicated to the conservation and enhancement of the social and physical environment through a program of research, public information and governmental action. Organized in Contra Costa County which lies on the northeast shore of San Francisco Bay, we have seen the desecration of the hills, the shore, the bay and even the air we breathe by unwise, unplanned, industrial and housing development, that has failed to recognize the basic human need for open, natural areas.
We strongly support the Golden Gate National Recreation Area as an expression of Federal responsibility for providing open space in and near metropolitan centers. These extensive public lands will provide recreation for great numbers of people from the impacted city centers and the often congested suburbs.
It will also preserve open areas of natural growth to help equalize the polluted air circulating in the bay area basin. Planned and protected natural corridors are mandatory if the air, already thick with the emission from industry, autos, and congested city life is not to dangerously imperil the health of bay area residents.
Perhaps of even greater importance will be the opportunity for thousands of residents to explore the natural areas and to experience the excitement of a growing knowledge and understanding of the interdependencies existing in all of nature without which we can expect a continuing failure to respect life itself.
Many thousands of children in bay area schools never have the opportunity for outdoor education nor for a continuing study of natural science in nature's own outdoor laboratory. Too long we have neglected this important aspect of education. Too many generations have grown to maturity with no realization of the delicate balance between natural forms. Our sorry environmental crisis reflects this neglect.
The Golden Gate Recreation Area will provide new space for this learning experience. We urge an early approval of this recreation area as an important step in the President's effort to bring parks to the people.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mrs. Vincent.
Jack Murphy, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. I understand that Tom Standing will speak for that organization.
Mr. STANDING. That is right, Mr. Chairman.
STATEMENT OF TOM STANDING ON BEHALF OF JACK MURPHY, SAN FRANCISCO BICYCLE COALITION, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF.
Mr. STANDING. I want to express the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition's support for a National Recreation Area in the Golden Gate.
We would like to see as much land included in this recreational area as possible.
The purpose of our bicycle coalition is to encourage bicycle riding in the San Francisco and the Bay Area as an everyday means of transportation. We realize that recreational bicycling is a precursor to using bicycles for everyday transportation. Řight here in Golden Gate Park certain areas of the park have been closed off to automobiles and bicycle paths have been constructed, and now more and more people are riding bicycles, not only for recreational purposes but to get to work, to go shopping or to go to school.
We feel that as more people ride bicycles our problems of traffic congestion and pollution can be eased somewhat. So we would like to see more places to ride bicycles free from traffic in the beautiful scenic areas in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
A few recommendations we have would be on the San Francisco side of the Golden Gate to connect the various ends of the city from Land's End at the west and Aquatic Park at the east, through the Presidio as exclusive bicycle paths to the Golden Gate Bridge.
On the Marin side of the Golden Gate, Forts Barry, Baker, and Cronkhite offer excellent scenic recreational siting of bikes also and some of the adjacent ranchlands which I think also are included in these bills could connect an exclusive bicycle path all the way to Mill Valley and also up to the Shore Valley.
You have my recommendations there in complete detail.
Mr. TAYLOR. Well, that is interesting. A bicycle path through the Golden Gate Park to the recreation area might aid somewhat in solving the transportation problem that we have been confronted with, could it not?
Mr. STANDING. That is right. The Golden Gate Bridge and highway districts have lifted their bans on bicycle riding across the Golden Gate Bridge and now it is possible to ride across the bridge any day of the week, and the problem is now getting to the bridge. We have to cycle along roads that are busy, with heavy weekend traffic and right now there are negotiations to construct a bike path above Baker Beach. However, we need money for it and money may be appropriated sooner or later, but the concept is still there.
There are other places to build bicycle paths, maybe along Crissy Field someplace, actually using streets that are existing. There are unused streets or at least streets that are closed off to the public which could be used as exclusive bicycle paths.
Mr. TAYLOR. And a bicycle path parallel to the waterfront could be useful.
Mr. STANDING. Exactly, very much so.
Mr. CLAUSEN. Will the chairman yield?
Mr. TAYLOR. Yes, I will be glad to yield.
Mr. CLAUSEN. I think you have hit on a very intriguing idea for a number of reasons and it takes me back to a time when I visited Denmark and you know they use a number of bicycles over there.
When Mayor Alioto was here this morning I made reference to the fact that I thought we should utilize the Crissy Field area for the development of a safety program for the recreationist and so I just want to ask this question of you.