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.