In the most recent episode of Parks enforcement drama at Dolores Park, we’re learning about the destructive power of inappropriate napping.
Michael Libertin, a three-year San Francisco and former Mission district resident, was enjoying a lazy Saturday afternoon in a hammock he had slung between two trees when he was issued a citation under Parks Code 4.05, which prohibits “malicious defacement, damage or destruction of real or personal property.” One of the parks officers, Libertin reports, was none other than J. Chan of recent Facebook-video fame. (We would caution that Mission Local has not been able to independently confirm this.)
Libertin isn’t going to take this lying down. He’ll contest the $192 ticket, as he contends that his sleepy Saturday afternoon was (a) not malicious and (b) not damaging to the tree. In fact, the straps he used to hang the hammock are specifically considered “tree friendly.” Moreover, he went back and photographed the trees a day later to show how conspicuously intact they remain. Libertin has done a little independent research about the kind of trees (olive) he was hanging out between and found they are particularly resistant to wear and tear, but has also emailed a professor of forestry for further information.
But to some extent it’s also a matter of principle.
“It sounds nerdy, but I really like my hammock and I like going to park and taking naps,” Libertin said. “So I kind of want some sort of indication that there’s nothing wrong with doing that.”
So, is is it actually against the rules? A representative from Rec & Park was not immediately available for comment on the question of potentially malicious hammock-hangers. But as we’ve learned from the aforementioned Facebook video of an argument about the legitimacy of bringing tables to the park, household items or structural alterations are not permitted in the park.
According to parks code section 4.06, climbing or lying on trees is also prohibited in the parks. Slackliners have also run into trouble with parks enforcement before. Only balloons, signs, piñatas, streamers and “etc.” are expressly forbidden from being affixed to trees. For his part, Libertin says he certainly wouldn’t have hung the hammock had there been signage indicating a rule against it.
For now, he says he’ll probably hold off on hammock-lounging, at least in Dolores Park. Libertin said he understands the efforts to make the park more kid-friendly, reduce littering, and discourage illegal activity – but isn’t clear on what that has to do with his naps.
“I could see why, as a politician or someone who lives near the park, you wouldn’t want to see people smoking pot and smoking cigarettes and drinking,” Libertin said. “But I don’t think citing people in hammocks is really gonna cut down on people drinking beer.”