CRYSTAL SPRINGS (CBS SF) –- The battle over how hikers will access some of the most beautiful trails in the Bay Area above the Crystal Springs Reservoir is getting serious.

The fight has environmentalists squaring off against San Francisco Public Utility Commission officials.

“We have a plan that we have been following to provide additional access to the water shed,” said Tim Ramirez, of the PUC’s Division Manager for Resource/Lands Management.

But Sierra Club Executive Committee Member Arthur Feinstein has a problem with that plan.

“Well, in most anywhere else, the Sierra Club is all about getting out into nature,” he said. “Getting people to feel how important it is, but there are places where you don’t go because they’re too important.”

At the moment, hikers are allowed with a reservation and an escort. But now the commission is proposing a permit system that would allow hikers to enter the area on their own.

“The idea is that we would make it more accessible to people in a way that would make sure the folks that have permits are acting as eyes and ears for us and they know how the water shed operates, why it’s managed a certain way and just like our Docents, they would be advocates for its protection,” Ramirez said.

The Sierra Club says unsupervised access to the area is not a good idea.

“If you look at the history of the world, where people go, critters disappear because we just do things,” he said.

For now, the permit idea is just that. The whole plan still has a long way to go. The commission says you won’t see anyone out here visiting using the permit process until as early as 2019.

Comments (3)
  1. Jamie Fox says:

    Great reporting. The hypocrisy of the Sierra Club is evident, when you consider they have not helped in saving John Muir’s ridgeline in Martinez from development of 106 homes (aka the Alhambra Hills), yet somehow they have the bandwidth to fight hikers and bikers in publicly owned open space? Hikers and bikers don’t make species go extinct, development does! Kudos the the Open the SF Watershed group for their moral clarity on this social justice issue. Follow the science, not the fear! Open the SF Watershed, just like Marin and the East Bay.

  2. Chris Ketner says:

    Arthur Fienstein’s stance on this is completely absurd. Lots of people are using this area right now. They have houses there, run their dogs there, have wedding parties, clear cut huge areas of vegetation, drive their trucks and personal cars there. The mayor of SF can fish there. You could hike there IF you were an SF PUC employee. If your father or grandfather was an SFPUC employee you could get a job there with a house to boot. Once the Public understands this bizarre hold that a San Francisco PUBLIC commission has over a vast parkland in San Mateo Co the real issues at work here will be revealed. This area should be the peninsula’s Mt Tam. Mr Feinstein is the reason I have stopped years of donations to the Sierra Club

  3. Gene McKenna says:

    This is really poor reporting. Why was there no one from the Open the SF Watershed group interviewed for this piece? They have been the champions of this issue for years and could do a better job calling out the broad, generalizations Arthur Fienstein makes for which Mr. Feinstein offers no actual data. Nor does CBS point out that other Bay Area watersheds have been open for decades without incident. CBS, you need to do a better job.

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