McLaren Park's Environment
John McLaren park is an enchanted...
. . .bit of country in the City. Watched over by a devoted community of volunteer gardeners, trash collectors, dog owners, civic activists and a small, dedicated Rec and Park crew, the park contains that rarest of finds in San Francisco: unprogrammed open spaces filled with plants and birds, trees and meadows, natural sounds and smells.
McLaren Park is a hidden jewel, offering nature-starved urbanites a respite from the rush and rattle of city life.
Summer in McLaren Park
Poppies and wild oats on the southeastern slope
SMP photo by Ed Brownson
You can run with your dog on meandering trails, watch hawks soar above, and listen to an ever changing aria of birdsong as you stroll through forests of pine, cypress, and eucalyptus, patches of willows, groves of redwoods, acres of coyote scrub, and rolling hills of grasslands and wildflowers.
Large flowered Linanthus, native to McLaren Park
SMP photo by Ken McGary
[click picture for more about McLaren's plants]
The infrastructure required for an
18-hole disc golf course, while less than that required for a
regular golf course, is substantial in it's impact. Woodchipped trails will be constantly "maintained" (meaning even
more woodchips are spread onto the course). Metal baskets,
signage, and large tree nets will blot the landscape. This has
already happened on the Golden Gate Park disc golf course, and we
have no doubt of the same result in McLaren Park. The unique
untamed character of this open space would be lost, and a
special interest group would imprint its requirements over a vast 30
acres (over 20 football fields) of prime park space.
American Painted Lady butterfly
alight on Philosopher's Hill
SMP photo by Ed Brownson
[click picture for more about McLaren's animals]
In fact, several of Recreation and Parks Department’s own
programs are in conflict with the proposed course, including the Dog
Play Area, Philosopher’s Way, Sensitive Bird Habitat, as well as
various stewardship and educational programs. Looking forward,
Hunter’s Point/Lennar, Balboa Park BART redevelopment, Candlestick
Point, and other development projects in the southeast quadrant of
the City will put ever-increasing pressure on our remaining open
Thousands of volunteer hours are spent each year enhancing
natural and recreational features in Natural Areas. Development of
site stewardship and recreational uses that are compatible with
natural resource protection is one of the main goals of this plan.
Most any public event that causes trampled greenery in a city park requires some sort of payment for the damage. For the proposed disc golf course, this is not the case. Rather, a small non-profit organization would be largely responsible for many acres of parkland, encouraging a sport that by its very nature would be an ongoing threat to McLaren's flora and fauna. No doubt about it, disc golf will damage rather than cherish this rapidly diminishing resource.