San Francisco looks at limiting bonfires on Ocean Beach

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Some San Francisco supervisors introduced a resolution Thursday calling for what they describe as "fair and effective" guidelines for bonfires at a local beach.

Bonfires at San Francisco's Ocean Beach are a tradition dating back to the 1800's.

"Sitting around the fire and talking and playing music, that's what the beach is for," beachgoer Hunter Ridenour said.

A few years ago the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, or GGNRA, tried to ban the bonfires but gave up in the face of fiery criticism. Now the agency is proposing regulations that would force everyone to get a permit and for the first time charge, perhaps $35 to reserve a fire pit.

"That's ridiculous. What's the point of a public state beach if you have to pay to use the bonfire pits," beachgoer Emma Gilman said.

It's actually federal land and GGNRA says its proposal is designed to deal with trash and maintenance issues.

"People who want to use the beach the morning after a bonfire find alcohol bottles, they find debris all over the beach and find it to be an unsafe place for their families," GGNRA spokesperson Adrienne Freeman said.

According to Supervisor Eric Mar the city's Recreation and Parks Department was given $185,000 this year to help clean Ocean Beach. Mar represents the district where 12 fire pits are located and has introduced a resolution trying to find a compromise.

"Where were protecting the Ocean Beach area to be sustainable like the National Park Service wants to, but also allow free and accessible use of bonfires," Mar said.

The GGNRA is accepting feedback from the public through Dec. 4.

If you want to voice your opinion to the GGNRA click here.
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