Security issues crimp access near San Francisco

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Security issues crimp access

Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle

February 27, 2002

THE THREAT of terrorism has hit home in the scope of Bay Area outdoor recreation, with a number of new closures, rules and procedures in place on San Francisco Bay, at parks and at the airport.

Most are being overshadowed by the arrival of the first warm, spring-like weather of the year this week, ideal for hiking, biking, boating and fishing.

But there are a few significant exceptions.

The latest is that night fishing has been banned at several lakes in Santa Clara County, including Anderson, Calero, Coyote, Lexington and Almaden lakes, because of safety concerns over the dams at each lake.

Meanwhile, two sportfishing leaders from the Bay Area, Craig Stone and Bob Strickland of United Anglers, are flying to Washington, D.C., to try and win limited access into the new closed Security Zones off Oakland and San Francisco international airports on San Francisco Bay. They have meetings scheduled on Friday with Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the National Marine Fisheries Service and several congressmen.

"We're not anti-Security Zone, but there's got to be a way to fish these areas," Stone said. "Maybe we can initiate some kind of call system with the Coast Guard, so we can fish in those areas, yet the Coast Guard can maintain security."

Stone said the closed areas off the two airports are very productive for halibut, especially in the spring, and that discussions with the Coast Guard have been fruitless. "We need to go to Washington, D.C.," Stone said. "That's where they're pulling the strings. The Coast Guard is just following orders."

Here is a listing of how different agencies are responding to security issues on recreation lands, lakes and other waters in the Bay Area. In some cases, laws pre-existing Sept. 11 are being given new priority.

-- Fort Point, San Francisco: The area near the base of the Golden Gate Bridge has been fenced off to the public and is under special federal protection. The U.S. National Guard is posted.

-- Stanford trailheads: Trailheads for the Stanford foothills along Foothill Expressway are being monitored by officers conducting check points. At issue is the security of massive dish-type radio antennas that are positioned in various locations on Stanford land. This property is fenced, with no other legal access points.

-- Santa Clara County lakes: Concerned for the safety of local dams, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors banned night fishing at its recreation lakes. -- Marin Water District: The watershed recreation lands are closed after dark, with access to Bon Tempe and Lagunitas lakes being gated, a continuing policy.

-- East Bay Regional Park District: Access to recreation lakes is gated, including at Del Valle, Chabot, Shadow Cliffs, Quarry lakes. Many prominent parks also are gated with curfews in place. A similar program is in effect at San Pablo Reservoir, operated by the East Bay Municipal Utility District.

-- Airport carry-ons: Many anglers and hunters routinely carry a Leatherman or pocketknife. That is now prohibited. These and similar devices must be packed in regular baggage that is checked in for transport in main cargo. Airports security also is on alert for a cigarette lighter that contains a built-in, pop-up knife, popular among some fishermen who smoke.

E-mail Tom Stienstra at tstienstra@sfchronicle.com.
 
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