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This screen grab from a video taken in August appears to show and AMR ambulance driver returning to his vehicle after the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve was closed. Photo courtesy Kris Lannin Liang

Kris Lannin Liang is involved with several conservation groups and is serious about protecting California’s environment and its wildlife. Perhaps because she and her family live right across the street, she is particularly protective of the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve.

So, the sight of all those idling ambulances in the reserve parking lot really rankled her. She’s seen them at all hours, she says, sometimes blocking driveways, idling in no-parking zones and clogging an already congested parking lot.

“I have been trying to get the ambulances out of there for two years,” she said last week, theorizing the drivers are attracted by the park’s free WiFi. “People who come to enjoy nature have to walk by an idling engine to get there.”

It seems her complaints have finally found the right ears. After receiving a damning email from Liang, the man in charge of local ambulance operations says they will no longer stage at what is perhaps the county’s most scenic park.

Liang sent her carefully researched email of polite complaint to Rick LaMark, San Mateo County operations supervisor for American Medical Response. The private company holds the ambulance contract for San Mateo County, and the red, white and blue trucks are a familiar sight on the coast. Liang told LaMark she wishes they were a little less familiar to visitors of the coastal county park with particular environmental sensitivities.

The email included video links and photographs that appear to show ambulance drivers parked and walking through the reserve at all hours of the day and night. The videos were shot with the Liang family’s own camera, mounted on their California Avenue home.

Liang thinks one video, from Aug. 23, 2018, reveals a driver leaving his truck and urinating on reserve property. The video, posted on YouTube, appears to show the driver leaving his truck and returning moments later, perhaps buckling his pants. The black-and-white nighttime video does not show the man urinating and it is not clear what he was doing after he left the truck.

Copies of the email went to local elected representatives from the San Mateo County Harbor District, the Midcoast Community Council and others on the coast.

In response, LaMark said on Friday that the drivers would no longer await their next call by staging in the park.

“The marine reserve is not an approved AMR posting location for our ambulance crews,” LaMark wrote in an email to the Review. “We have since instructed them that they not post in this location.”

Liang says the ambulance drivers aren’t the only people who disregard signage and behave poorly on reserve property. She said one willow tree is a regular spot for those who can’t find a proper restroom.

“We are trying to dial back some of this behavior, and it doesn’t help when the ambulance drivers behave this way,” she said.

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