The stand of Monterey cypress trees located west of San Francisco National Cemetery and adjacent to Park Boulevard was planted by the U.S. Army in the 1880s. This stand was established as part of a plan by Major William A. Jones to create a forest within the Presidio.
Since the trees were all planted within a very short period of time, this site has an uncommon visual quality, and is considered one of the most beloved parts of the park. In 2001, this site was designated as one of the four Key Historic Forest Stands in the park by the Office of the Secretary of Interior.
Due to a lack of thinning by the Army when the stand was first established, the trees have become weakened. The cypress trees are now at the end of their natural lifespan, and the stand is failing. Many trees have fallen in recent years during the winter storms. The poor health of the trees creates a hazard for visitors to the park and the other trees and ecology in the area.
To help restore the forest, between 2016 and 2022, the Presidio Trust is gradually replacing this declining stand in six phases. Replanting will be organized with an effort to replicate the unique character of the forest in this area. The map below indicates the sequential phases of the reforestation plan. Declining trees in the stand will gradually be replaced by 900 young Monterey cypress trees that were raised from seeds collected in the Presidio.
Phased Reforestation Map
Schedule of Phases:
Phase 1 – completed in 2016
About 40 declining trees in the southeastern area of the stand were removed and replaced with 200 young Monterey cypress trees.
Phase 2 – completed in 2017
About 35 declining trees in the central area of the stand were removed and replaced with 125 young Monterey cypress trees.
Phase 3 – Mid-October through December, 2018
Removal of approximately 50 declining cypress mainly in the central area of the stand adjacent to Park Trail will begin in October. This work will take approximately four weeks. Work hours will be weekdays 8 am to 4 pm. The section of the Park Trail that runs through the site will be closed during work hours but remain open during the evening and all day on weekends. Please see map below of the work area, trail closure, and alternative routes.
The cleared area within the stand will be replanted with 125 young Monterey cypress trees raised from seeds collected in the Presidio. Tree planting will occur in December 2018 as the rainy seasons begins.
Phases 4-6 – Information on subsequent phases will be updated annually.
Reforestation in the Presidio:
The long-term effort to rejuvenate the Presidio forest began in 2003. Since that time, over 40 acres of forest have been restored in the Presidio and 5,000 trees have been planted around the park as part of the Presidio Trust's reforestation program.
The Trust's reforestation effort has contributed to an uptick in bird diversity in the Presidio, a clear indication of a sustainable ecosystem. Dying trees also often get a second life in the park, repurposed as benches, fencing, and even artworks like
Andy Goldsworthy's Spire,
Wood Line, and
Tree Fall, viewed by thousands of Presidio visitors each year.
The Trust welcomes the public to get involved by participating in a volunteer tree care program. From 2007 to 2017, approximately 1,850 volunteers contributed over 11,300 hours taking care of young trees.
For more information, please contact us at
To learn more about reforestation in the Presidio >>