California Government Code

Sec. § 66691

The Legislature finds and declares the following:


The public has an interest in the San Francisco Bay and the surrounding watershed lands as one of the most valuable natural resources of the state, a resource that gives special character to the San Francisco Bay Area. San Francisco Bay is the central feature in an interconnected open-space system of watersheds, natural habitats, waterways, scenic areas, agricultural lands, and regional trails.


Water-oriented recreational uses of the San Francisco Bay, including kayaking, canoeing, sailboarding, sculling, rowing, car-top sailing, and the like, are of great benefit to the public welfare of the San Francisco Bay Area. With loss of public open space, the public increasingly looks to the bay, the region’s largest open space, for recreational opportunities. Water-oriented recreational uses are an integral element of the recreational opportunities that span the San Francisco Bay Area and add to the community vitality and quality of life that the citizens of the region enjoy.


Water trails have been designated throughout the United States and have proven to be an important vehicle for promoting water-oriented recreation for citizens of all economic means. Water trails can inform the public about natural, cultural, and historic features and foster public stewardship of these resources. Water trails aid in urban renewal of industrial waterfronts. In combination with hiking, biking, and horse trails, water trails are an important element in the development of multiuse and multiday recreational opportunities that in turn have a positive regional economic benefit.


Bay Access, Incorporated, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the creation of the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail, has identified a series of existing and potential access points to the San Francisco Bay that encircle the bay. The designation of a water trail linking these existing and any future access sites that is designed and implemented consistent with this chapter, would advance the regional goals and state mandate of the commission to foster public access and recreational use of the bay.


San Francisco Bay is an aquatic habitat of international importance. It provides critical habitat for 70 percent of the shore birds and 50 percent of the diving ducks on the Pacific Flyway, as well as for many other waterbird species. It also provides habitat for marine mammals, other aquatic species, and colonial nesting birds, including many federal- and state-listed endangered or threatened species, such as the endangered California clapper rail.


The San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail, established pursuant to this chapter, shall be implemented consistent with the goals of improving access to, within, and around the bay, coast, ridgetops, and urban open spaces while respecting the rights of private property owners, considering navigation safety and homeland security concerns in establishing the access points around the bay and the siting of overnight accommodations, minimizing the adverse impacts on agricultural operations, and protecting endangered and threatened species, and species of special concern.


It is not the intent of the Legislature, in enacting this chapter, to modify any provision of this title except as otherwise expressly provided in this chapter.

Last accessed
Jun. 6, 2016