Presidio of San Francisco (August 19, 2008)
A freshwater spring that quenched the thirst of the Presidio’s earliest dwellers is being revitalized at Tennessee Hollow, the park’s largest watershed.
Tennessee Hollow, encompassing one fifth of the Presidio, is renowned for its nature, wildlife, and human history. It provides visitors with a rare opportunity to experience an entire watershed – from springs to San Francisco Bay – in just an afternoon hike. The fresh water that flows there served Native Americans, and supported the earliest Spanish-colonial settlers establishing a military fort along the bay. In 2003, Stanford University archaeologists uncovered the foundations of an adobe colonial residence believed to have been occupied nearly 200 years ago by Juana Briones, a pioneering local businesswoman and entrepreneur.
In September, the first phase of wetland restoration will begin as 60 non-native eucalyptus, cypress, and pine trees are removed from around the springs. These trees create leaf litter that clogs waterways and reduces water quality. Following the removal, community volunteers will help replant the site with native species grown in the Presidio Nursery. Species include coast live oak and California buckeye, wax myrtle, toyon, willows and native grasses.
In subsequent months, an existing roadway will be transformed into a pedestrian boardwalk and trail with a picnic area, public restrooms, and benches. The spring’s historic stone channels, built by the U.S. Army in the 1930s, will be restored. Interpretative gardens and archaeological displays will allow visitors to understand what daily life was like for the Presidio’s earliest residents, as well as the role fresh water played in the development of the Presidio.
Guided walks will describe plans for the area with the public. The walks will be held on Saturday, September 6 and Saturday, September 13, from 10:30 am to Noon at El Polín Spring in the Presidio. For directions and to RSVP, which is suggested, call (415) 561-5357 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to manage the Presidio of San Francisco, a former Army base located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The 1,500-acre site contains the infrastructure of a small community as well as expansive open space, a 300-acre historic forest, spectacular views, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. It comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to its status as a National Historic Landmark District, making it unlike any other national park. In establishing the Trust, Congress mandated that it make the park financially self-sufficient by 2013. The Trust is the only federal agency with this mandate.