A watershed is an area of land that catches rain and drains to a body of water. The largest of the Presidio’s two watersheds, Tennessee Hollow, covers 270 acres, or roughly 20 percent of the 1,491 acre park. There are two spring-fed tributaries in the Tennessee Hollow Watershed’s creek system that flow year round, and a third tributary that flows primarily when it’s raining. All three converge at a site named MacArthur Meadow near the historic Lovers’ Lane bridge. The stream then continues north in a single channel through a variety of habitats, ultimately draining into Crissy Marsh and San Francisco Bay.
For centuries, people used this creek system as a water source, beginning with the native Ohlone and later Spanish settlers. Over time, the militaries of Spain, Mexico, and the United States substantially altered where and how the creeks flow, creating dams and wells, and ultimately pushing the water underground into pipes to create dry land for building.
For the past two decades, the restoration of the Tennessee Hollow Watershed has been at the heart of the Presidio’s transformation from military post to national park. A series of restoration projects has brought the watershed back to life, revitalizing native habits, returning long lost plant and wildlife species, and creating new ways for people to experience nature and history in this urban national park.
Read a fact sheet describing the Tennessee Hollow Watershed revitalization projects >>
View a map of Tennessee Hollow Watershed revitalization projects >>