About Save McLaren Park


Who Are We?

Save McLaren Park was formed by neighbors and friends of the park who attended an “Informational Tour” on April 10, 2010. We were informed that disc golf in McLaren was essentially "a done deal” and that the public meetings were basically a courtesy. We were uniformly outraged at this complete lack of public involvement for such a significant change in a park that we visited so often.

Crocker Amazon autitorium overflow during Rec/Park meeting on disc golf in McLaren
Crocker Amazon clubhouse overflows
during Rec/Park meeting on disc golf in McLaren
SMP photo by Ken McGary

Dozens of volunteers then went on to organize opposition to the plans in a variety of ways, from gathering over 3,000 petition signatures, to meeting with City officials and community groups, to researching potential environmental impact.

Our Sunshine Ordinance document requests and other research convinced the Park, Recreation, and Open Space Advisory Committee (PROSAC) to call for a proper public process on the issue, and Commission President Mark Buell consequently called for further hearings before any final decisions are made.

Detailed history and timeline of disc golf in San Francisco.

V-O-Cal cleanup 2011

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  • Volunteers sign in at the V-O-CAL McLaren Park cleanup.  V-O-Cal Photo
  • Cleanup crews found just about everything imaginable. V-O-Cal Photo
  • Trail restoration was also part of the day. V-O-Cal Photo
  • Working with a view. V-O-Cal Photo
  • A small amount of the trash hauled out of McLaren. V-O-Cal Photo
  • Unwanted "stuff" was found everywhere. V-O-Cal Photo

Where are we now?

Everyone who worked in any way against this threat to McLaren's wild spaces and serene places should give themselves credit for making a real difference in our park! Many acres of McLaren's grasslands and forests are still available today for all park visitors to enjoy at their leisure due to our collective efforts.

And we continue to watch the topic of disc golf with eagle eyes. We responded rapidly in early 2012 when yet another 18-hole disc golf layout, this time for the western regions of McLaren, was floated. Within a few weeks we worked up new overlay maps, attended community meetings, researched potential impacts, and produced a detailed response showing once again why there just simply isn't room for such a large, single-use sports course in the natural areas of McLaren Park. We also send regular email bulletins to hundreds of McLaren Park friends and neighbors with news, views, and upcoming event listings for the park.

What's next?

The great news about all of this controversy is that it has brought together an astounding number of neighbors and friends who all share common interest in the "wild side" of John McLaren Park. Since its inception more than two years ago, Save McLaren Park has focused beyond the disc golf controversy, striving to understand, promote, and protect these unique untamed corners of our City's second largest park.

Our activities have included bird and nature walks, picnics, participation in the annual butterfly count, and enthusiastic promotion of other activities in our natural areas such as work parties and trail building events. While we will continue these sorts of activities, we also endeavor to find new and fun ways to engage the communities surrounding McLaren Park with the park’s natural wonders by partnering with SFRPD's Natural Areas Program as well as other volunteer, nature, and citizen science groups.

We also take a very active role in the general promotion and improvement of the park, including participation in the McLaren Park Collaborative -- another impressive new “meta-group” striving to find common ground for positive action in McLaren Park. What is McLaren’s future? We don't know for sure, but with the groundswell of new enthusiasm for this well-loved but long-neglected open space, we are confident that it is brighter than ever before.

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