Dog group raises funds to reopen Fort Funston parking lot, restrooms as shutdown continues

A popular dog park and beach reopened its parking lot and facilities after an unlikely partner offered to pay for its maintenance during the government shutdown. 

“It’s no secret that SF Dog and the park service have had disagreements over policies, but this goes well beyond that,” said SF Dog chair, Sally Stephens. 

In December, the gate closed at Fort Funston, located in the south west corner of San Francisco. But people and their dogs were still accessing the park by parking on the shoulder of Skyline Boulevard, where speed limit is 35, but cars can be seen driving at 55 miles per hour.

“Around Christmas time I wrote a letter to [Congressmember] Jackie Speier because I saw the dangerous conditions with everyone parking on Skyline and it was scary just driving by,” said dog walker Julie Duffy.

Related: Shutdown becomes longest federal closure in US history

As the government shutdown dragged into the new year, the group SF DOG contacted the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and offered to help. 

“When it became clear it was going to last awhile, we contacted the park service and said ‘What do we need to do get that parking lot gate open?” said Stephens. 

At $1,500 a week, SF DOG says its paying for the routine park maintenance, which includes cleaning the port-o-potties and hauling away trash. In exchange, the parking lot gate at Fort Funston is now open. 

No one with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy could be reached for comment on Saturday. 

“We’ve committed to at least a month, because the contract is for a month,” said Stephens. “But this is a week by week type of thing. I honestly hope this is over soon, just so the park service staff can get back to do their jobs.”

Stephens said if the shutdown continues into February, SF DOG is planning to pay for the maintenance for that month. 

It’s using a crowdfunding site for donations: