Fort Funston is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) and is operated under the authority of the National Park Service. It is a popular shared-use park where dogs have room to run, wrestle, and fetch and is listed as one of the best places to walk a dog in California. Fort Funston is large enough to accomodate many recreational users - horseback riders, hang gliders, hikers, bikers, bird watchers, or families out for a stroll. Many people like to watch the world-class hang gliders from the observation platform.
Fort Funston is an unusual piece of Park Service property. For many years it was under the control of the Department of Defense. During this time large gun emplacements were built for coastal defense, Nike missiles were installed, non-native plant species (such as ice plant and trees) were cultivated as camouflage, and so forth. Many remants of these activities remain, although many of the concrete installations have slipped down the cliffs and onto the beach.
We believe that Fort Funston's importance as an off-leash area for dogs is equal to any other claim on the park. On the other hand, the park’s growing popularity creates an increasing burden, and educating dog owners to “do the right thing” can mitigate this burden. Expect to encounter visitors without dogs, horse back riders, hang gliders taking off and landing - and understand that there is no shame in using a leash when voice control is not sufficient.
We urge park visitors to come to Fort Funston with their well-behaved dogs. Enjoy the fresh air, commune with nature, and enhance your and your dog's social skills. The regulars at Fort Funston enjoy meeting new dogs and new owners. Although off-leash activity is permitted, bring a leash for each dog in case more control is needed, and make sure you've always got an extra pick-up bag. (The bag boxes are often empty on busy weekends - you can help by filling the bag boxes with your extra newspaper bags.) Welcome - and enjoy your walks!
For now, you can legally walk your dogs off-leash in almost all parts of Fort Funston. The easiest way to stay legal is to stay out of the fenced areas, even though not all of them are illegal for off-leash activity. You can still be cited for not picking up after your dog, for allowing your dog to chase wildlife or dig, for aggressive behavior (human or canine), or for not having your dog under voice control. Carry a leash for each dog in the event that voice control isn't working. Remember this is a shared space - shared with horseback riders, hang gliders, casual sight-seers, bicyclists, bird watchers . . . Not everyone loves your dog like we do (I know - hard to imagine, but true). Stay out of the hang gliders' launch area for everyone's safety, and if your dog is a chaser, leash up around the landing area as well. See Off-Leash History for more details re the off-leash situation. Refer to the National Park's website for more information about off-leash status.
See the conditions right now - check out the hang-gliders' Fort Funston web cam. Look up low tide times for best beach walks - check out the NOAA tide chart and enter today's date for a great visual representation of the tide patterns.
If you like to wade in the ocean, beware of riptides - actually rip "currents". Here's an excellent 4 minute video that explains how rip currents form and how to survive one. And one more danger (the "Pacific" Ocean isn't always peaceful!) - beware of sneaker waves. These are disproportionately large waves that appear without warning and can sweep people off the beach and out to sea. (Don't turn your back on the ocean!)
Check SFWATER to make sure there aren't any sewage spills on the beach - especially during the storm season.
Next cleanup: March 2nd at 11am
Cleanup meeting place: Northeast corner (opposite end from the beach overlook) in the upper parking lot. We provide all supplies, plus coffee and treats. * If you are coming to the cleanup because of the posting in the Parks Conservancy calender, you MIGHT be expecting to be cleaning the beach and not picking up dog "litter"! Let us know ahead of time so we can try to organize a more people-litter focused cleanup for you (email@example.com).
What can you do every day (besides what you're already doing)? Get your friends and neighbors to give you their extra newspaper bags and stuff the boxes - or give us the bags at the monthly cleanup and we'll use them to keep the boxes full. Do an extra "sweep" where the hang-gliders park their craft - or stuff the boxes near the hang-gliders area to help keep that area clean. (And thank you!)
Did you ever wonder about the garbage on the beach - where does it come from, want can we do about it? . . . . check out the NOAA site for more information.
We are a community organization of dog owners and dog lovers who want to protect and preserve our recreation at Fort Funston, one of the largest and most beautiful dog-friendly parks in America. Fort Funston Dog Walkers (FFDW) was formed in order to:
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(Site last updated on July 16, 2012)