Reopen Mare Island Preserve Now!

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Myrna Hayes
Myrna Hayes signed this petition

The Mare Island Preserve was arbitrarily closed to the public and the volunteers who established and have run it for the last 12 years. We petition the city; reopen the Preserve to the public and reinstate the volunteers who have run it at no cost to the city.

Thousands of visitors have enjoyed themselves for thousands and thousands of hours. Some come to exercise (often with their furry family members), to bird watch, to photograph. I’m sure most also come to relax and get away from the stresses in their lives. The Preserve is very popular among financially stressed residents as it is free. It is very child friendly. Others come to enjoy Mother’s Day Tea, the Flyway Festival (which attracts about 3,000 visitors annually), Osprey Days, Mare Fair, and the very popular Halloween celebration of Nightmare Island, which had to be cancelled this year.

Some city officials have fabricated a story that the Preserve is not safe. This charge is patently false. No camper has ever started a fire in the Preserve’s 12-year history. However, the Fire Chief ordered that all the camping facilities be removed from the grounds. This has been done. The Chief also wanted all the furniture removed, which has also been put into storage. How do city staff justify keeping the Preserve closed when one of their biggest concerns — that a camper could start a fire — is no longer valid?!

These same city officials have left Hanns Park open after the fire there this past July. Of the 28 parks operated by GVRD, 12 — almost half — maintain BBQs. Why aren’t officials concerned about the potential for these fires getting out of control? Why haven’t they banned their use or removed them?

The reality is that city staff have singled out the Preserve in ways that other parks have not. In our view, city officials are harassing the volunteers who maintain and operate the Preserve for free! Has any local, regional, state, or national park been closed indefinitely after a fire?! No!

Please sign and share this petition and help us reopen our Preserve and restore our volunteer management.