letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor: Observation Wheel Does Not Belong in Golden Gate Park


The Observation Wheel does not belong in the Music Concourse, or anywhere in Golden Gate Park. The Observation Wheel and attendant lighting are not in keeping with the Park’s character or function.  A better way to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Golden Gate Park would be to keep the Park as dark and quiet as safety allows. We should honor the natural environment of the Park.  The Observation Wheel  is inappropriate for this historic setting and there is the potential for harm to wildlife, particularly birds.  Tall, brightly lit structures are a hazard to birds, bats and wildlife.  Especially in a park.  You don’t need  scientific studies to know this.  The City should not be sending a message that carnival attractions are more important than the peace and quiet of the Park.  The noise and fumes from the diesel generator should not be part of the Music Concourse experience. 

“Humans’ use of artificial light is causing widespread impacts on animals and plants and researchers say it should be limited where possible. British scientists say light pollution causes changes to animal behaviour and physiology, especially hormone levels and patterns of waking, sleeping and activity.” – Earthweek: a diary of the planet 2020 year in review by Steve Newman, San Francisco Chronicle, January 3, 2020 

“A new study reveals that greater bird biodiversity brings greater joy to people, according to recent findings from the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research. In fact, scientists concluded that conservation is just as important for human well-being as financial security.The study, published in Ecological Economics, focused on European residents, and determined that happiness correlated with a specific number of bird species. “According to our findings, the happiest Europeans are those who can experience numerous different bird species in their daily life, or who live in near-natural surroundings that are home to many species,” says lead author Joel Methorst, a doctoral researcher at the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Center, the iDiv and the Goethe University in Frankfurt.” – EcoWatch

The Nature Fix: Why nature makes us happier, healthier, and more creative, a book by journalist and author Florence Williams, ” investigates the science at the confluence of environment, mood, health, and creativity. Delving into completely new research, she uncovers the powers of the natural world to improve health, promote reflection and innovation, and ultimately strengthen our relationships. As our modern lives shift dramatically indoors, these ideas—and the answers they yield—are more urgent than ever.” – from the Florence Williams web page

Of course children, and many adults, like bright lights and rides but does that mean we should turn our parks into amusement parks? Bright lights and amusement park rides are the equivalent of giving a child a sugary drink.  Yes, their mood will be elevated for a little while but it may not be good for their health.  Quiet immersion in the joy and wonder of being in the park and in nature is a better tonic.  The Observation Wheel is supposed to be celebrating Golden Gate Park but instead, it is harming the Park and our quiet enjoyment of the City’s “crown jewel.”   The Observation Wheel should be removed from the Music Concourse.

David Romano

3 replies »

  1. “We should honor the natural environment of the Park. ”

    The park is an ENTIRELY man-made environment. Prior to any intervention, the entire area was sand dunes. This is not a strong argument


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