Nature Area Needs New Signs

The dark green signs on the boundaries of the Nature Area on the northeast side of the park are worn beyond repair.  Already faded and dirty in 2015, when I first photographed them, the signs are now so deteriorated that the lettering fell off when a Parks staff member attempted to clean one of the signs with sponge and water.

Nature Area sign in May 2015
Nature Area sign in October 2018

The Nature Area is part of the original Master Plan for the park drawn up in 1977.  The 1983 Conceptual Plan revised the extent and location of the different zones in the park, but retained the protected character of what was then called the Natural Zone.  The 1991 Conceptual Master Plan similarly retained the Natural Zone.  The 2003 Marina Master Plan refers to “the area in Cesar Chavez Park designated ‘Protected Natural Area’ where human access is normally prohibited.”

The survival of the Natural Area depends on park visitors respecting the boundaries, and that respect depends in large part on effective signage.  When the signs are so worn that they cannot be read, the public may trespass into the closed area without having unlawful intent.  New signs need to replace the old ones ASAP.

There is also a problem with a social path that runs through the Nature Area.  Social, as in made by people without Parks authorization.  The Nature Area extends north of that social path to the authorized gravel path that lies at the foot of the western ridge.  The social path violates the letter and spirit of the Nature Area, which is closed to human access.  When new signs are installed, the inappropriate path should be covered and made impassable.

The deterioration of Nature Area signage is part of a pattern of neglect that includes the boundaries of the unfenced dog park, or Off-Leash Area, near the middle of the park.  A number of dog park boundary signs, although perfectly legible and not worn, have disappeared.  See Request for Maintenance, here.

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