The San Francisco Garter Snake has been called North America’s most beautiful serpent. A fantastically colored species that does justice to its moniker, it is identified by its reddish-orange head with red, black, and blue racing stripes on its sides and back.
Unfortunately this harmless and gorgeous critter isn’t easily seen, in part because it is on the brink of extinction. Restricted primarily to San Mateo County, the species’ preferred habitats—wet and marshy habitats with access to upland areas—have been hit hard by agricultural, residential, commercial, and even recreational development. Adding insult to injury, the snake's favorite food the California Red-Legged Frog--famous in itself for being the largest frog native to the West, and for being the central character in Mark Twain's short story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County--is itself threatened with extinction.
The San Francisco Garter Snake and the California Red-legged Frog are in dire need of good habitat. One of the last great restoration opportunities for the species is at Sharp Park, a public property owned by San Francisco but located in Pacifica, CA. Surrounded by National Park land, the City is currently using the land as a golf course, but the golf course loses money every year--and kills both the San Francisco Garter Snake and the California red-legged frog with its operations.
Fortunately a coalition of conservation organizations, budget hawks, neighborhood park and social service organizations have created a plan to transform the golf course into a new national park everyone can enjoy--including frogs and snakes. You can help make this restoration vision a reality by contacting San Francisco’s Mayor Ed Lee, an unabashed golfer, and ask him to restore Sharp Park! Call (415) 554-6141 today.
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