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: Re: GGNRA stables

Linda, you were interested in what I wrote in reply to that damaging
article Brian Huse wrote in the Jan./Feb. issue of the Nat. Parks and
Conservation Assn.  magazine.  I did write a short reply to the editor,
but  then a week ago I got an email from B. Huse himself.  My email
server doesn't do attachments, only forwards, so my reply to him is
below.   It may be of help to other beleaguered equestrians.   
       Since I wrote this reply I found out that the infamous red-legged
frog is not on the  "endangered" list but on the "threatened,"  as is the
coho salmon, steelhead trout, and tidewater goby.   Mr. Huse called them
all "endangered."   Well, I am not going to roll over and meekly play
dead to the Brian Huses of the world.  
       Last but not least,  I have agreed to go with  the Heritage Trails
group (Nancy Dupont, George Cardinet, and others) back east  to
Washington DC in March to lobby on the Hill for trails and trail access. 
  If I get approval from AERC office, Pat Oliva and  I will represent 
AERC to our elected and appointed  representatives alike.   We can make
our points politely but firmly.    Wish me luck!    See you at Reno in
few weeks.   Cheers (;-),  Connie Berto, AERC Trails Chair

--------- Begin forwarded message ----------
From: connie B Berto <>
CC:  <deleted> --    I listed a whole bunch, including GGNRA Park Supt.
O'Neill and the editor of the NPCA magazine
Subject: Re: GGNRA stables
Date: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 02:59:59 EST

Dear Mr. Huse:   Thank you for your email of 28 January 1999 regarding
your article in the NPCA magazine,  the exaggerations in which are 
responsible for the "extreme polarization of the issue"  (your words).
     First, your claim that the stables allow "concentrated drainage to
flow into nearby streams" is ridiculous on the face of it.   In your
email you say that  "there are contaminants being released into the
stream adjacent to all three stables."    What do you mean by these
statements, and on what do you base these claims?   When rain falls on my
car, by the time it drips onto the ground, it contains "contaminants." 
The water discharged from the cycles of my washing machine has
"contaminants."   I believe I am correct in stating that in these  United
States, no untreated surface water is safe for human consumption because
of  "contaminants."    Your unsupported statement that  "there are
contaminants being released into the stream adjacent to all three
stables" is  meaningless.    
      You have been sent a report of the water quality  tests dated 3
December 1998  of Presidio Riding Club stables.   These tests were taken
at the worst possible time frame:  the first rains of the season,
following months of dry weather, with no intervening flushing away of
stable leachings.   The tests results were excellent;  all tested
properties were within parameters set by  USDA  National Services, CA 
Dept. of  Fish and Game, and Regional Water Quality Control Board.   By
no means are these stables violating  provisions of the Clean Water Act. 
Two of the three stables are either in the midst of, or downstream of, 
residential areas.   Equestrians decline to be held hostage to the idea
that stables, all by themselves, must  "afford absolute protection for
the species and watersheds in question..."   There are NO absolutes in
life, and the stables are not responsible for upstream broken sewer lines
and neighbors' parking lot runoff.
    All of the GGNRA stables -- arguably the most highly regulated and
scrupulously monitored in Marin County  -- have enacted mitigation
measures that put other activities in the county to shame.   There are no
human water contact sports downstream of  these stables.  The stables'
water runoff is within federal parameters for water quality.  We do not
accept that the stables should be held to stricter water standards than
those set    by the state or by the federal government  just because they
are equestrian facilities.   To attempt to do so would be highly
      Your article is mistaken in the status of the four species
mentioned.  The last I read was that coho salmon and steelhead trout are
on the "threatened" list, not endangered as you state.   In May 1998,
Secretary Bruce Babbitt  declared his intention to downgrade the status
of the tidewater goby.  The actual location  of  red-legged frogs in the
areas of the stables has not been made known to equestrians.     To date,
nationwide, there are little or no scientific data or research  to show
what specific impact equines have on riparian habitat.  
    Your article in the NPCA magazine also claimed that the stables are
operating "in violation...of Park Service policies."   Please be
specific;   exactly what policies are they violating?   For your
information, the September 1980 Management Plan of the GGNRA and Point
Reyes National Seashore specifically mentions  "organized cooperative
stables in three southern Marin County locations"  (page 60) and that
"these facilities will continue to operate in their present general
locations...modified to to the general public as horse
rental, overnight boarding and trailer parking."    Far from being
" stables" with "unregulated operation" and "in violation
of...Park Service policies" (your words), the existence and functions of
the stables have been part of the amenities and recreational
opportunities offered within the (now federal)  lands in Marin County
since before  the establishment of the parks.  Over the years, the
children who have been members of the Pony Club at the Muir Beach
stables, and the children who have learned horsemanship from riding
lessons at Miwok Stables, have particularly benefitted from the presence
of the stables.   And, where have you been, that you have not known of
the long-established  rent string at Miwok Stables, one of only three
such in the entire county?
     Lastly, your article disregards and ignores the months (in some
cases years)  of meetings with federal representatives in efforts to
improve the standards of operation of these stables.   I have lived in
Marin County for over 40 years and have worked for decades on
environmental and recreational issues with all branches of public
agencies in this county.  Your article unjustly  discredits the National
Park Service and its representatives, as well as the volunteer efforts
and considerable  private monetary expenditures of the citizens who
operate the stables and who have added immeasurable physical, social,
educational, and economic benefits to life in the San Francisco Bay Area.
    I hope that you will continue your education in equestrian activities
in Marin County.      I would also hope that, in the future, attitude
will not get in the way of accurate assessment of the facts.    
Sincerely,   Connie Berto (Mrs. Frank J. Berto)
--------- End forwarded message ----------

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