The ire brewing after Uptown Almanac first wrote about a reported mandatory picnic deposit in Dolores Park  is a tempest in a teapot, according to Elton Pon, a spokesperson with Rec and Park.

“We are not looking to crack down on their fun,” says Pon.

Dolores Park is an area that, in the spring and summer months, has arguably become the Woodstock of picnicking. But casual picnickers don’t have to fill out a form or pay any deposit. The $100 refundable deposit is aimed at parties of 25 or more.

This has been the rule since last spring, says Pon. It’s meant to encourage large groups to clean up after themselves. Implementation was a matter of adding a $100 refundable deposit to the permit fees they normally  charge to secure one of the seven large picnic areas in Dolores Park. The deposit, which is a check that is returned after the picnic, has almost always been refunded, according to Pon.

The permit fees go like this:  Picnics with 25-50 people pay $27 fee, parties of 50-101 people pay $55 and parties of 101 to 200 pay $81. This is consistent with the fees the City has been charging for picnic permits for decades, Pon said.

Enforcement is based on complaints from neighbors, or if a dispute arises on who has the rights to what space. Says Pon: SF Park and Rec  doesn’t have the staff to check up on every large picnic.

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Rigoberto Hernandez is a journalism student at San Francisco State University. He has interned at The Oregonian and The Orange County Register, but prefers to report on the Mission District. In his spare time he can be found riding his bike around the city, going to Giants games and admiring the Stable building.

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