Presidio of San Francisco (June 1, 2012) --Throughout the month of June the Presidio Trust, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and National Park Service are welcoming the public back toElPolÃn Spring with a month-long celebration of this rich ecological and archaeological site. ElPolÃn, a place where history and nature converge and one can trace the emergence of San Francisco, has been transformed into an idyllic retreat offering unprecedented opportunities for outdoor educational experiences. The area underwent a major transformation and is now open to the public. Funding was provided by a unique partnership between federal and state agencies and private donors.
The Presidio and its partners, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and National Park Service are hosting programs throughout the month of June, including family night hikes and discovery programs, Create with Nature family days, guided tours through ElPolÃn and the Tennessee Hollow Watershed, and volunteer days. For details and a complete schedule of events visit:www.presidio.gov/explore/Pages/el-polin-spring-june-celebration-events.aspx
New visitor amenities include a small picnic area, benches crafted from Monterey cypress trees salvaged from the Presidio's reforestation program, public restrooms, and a new connector trail linking ElPolÃn with the Ecology Trail below Inspiration Point. A new redwood boardwalk and pedestrian trail have replaced an asphalt road. The creek's historic cobblestone channel, built in 1940 by the Works Project Administration, has been restored. More than three hundred feet of creek, buried in pipes for decades, now flows above ground through a series of four wetlands ponds. The site is now accessible to people with disabilities.
With the support of hundreds of volunteers, invasive plants have been replaced with more than one hundred varieties of native trees, grasses and plants. A mosaic of six plant communities overlaps at ElPolÃn to create a rich habitat for wildlife. It is one of San Francisco's most popular spots for birdwatching; more than 100 species have been sighted there.
ElPolÃn is also rich in archaeological resources, including the foundation of an adobe home believed to have been occupied more than 200 years ago by the family of Juana Briones, one of the Bay Area's most prominent women of the time and a founding resident of Yerba Buena, the settlement that would become San Francisco. Archaeologists recently uncovered a large basin made of Mexican-era tile likely used to capture water for laundry and other chores; and a kiln used for firing tiles. New interpretative signs, the first in the park that are bilingual, mark key natural and cultural sites.
The only named spring in the Presidio, ElPolÃn lies at the heart ofTennessee Hollow, the Presidio's largest watershed. Restoration of the watershed has long been a cornerstone in the plans to transform the Presidio from military post to national park site. Activities include a long-term effort to daylight the entire creek system, restore and enhance native plant and wildlife habitat, build new trails, provide hands-on opportunities for school children to learn and for the community to be engaged in the transformation effort. The opportunity to restore an entire watershed - from springs to bay - at the edge of a major urban center is highly unique and possibly unprecedented.
The restoration of El PolÃn is a project of the Presidio Trust and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy,and was made possible through generous support from Mr. and Mrs. Matthew R. Barger, The James Irvine Foundation, the Kingfisher Foundation, Lynn and Peter Wendell, Julie and Will Parish,the State Water Resources Control Board, and the Department of Conservation Land Resource Protection, Watershed Program. Continued funding will be critical to ongoing restoration efforts at Tennessee Hollow. To learn about how you can contribute please contact Kathryn Morelli firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 561-3050.
The Presidio Trust is a distinctive federal agency created to save an historic American place and transform it to serve a new national purpose. The Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to administer the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park site located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The areas overseen by the Trust include expansive open space and spectacular views, a 300-acre historic forest, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. The park is home to 13 distinctiveplant communities featuring 280 native plant species, 16 of which are rare or endangered. Thousands of hours of volunteer work have restored many acres of natural resource habitat. The Presidio Native Plant Nursery grows 60,000 plants each year to make this restoration possible. 21st-Century "green" practices are employed in all building and landscape rehabilitation efforts.
The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy is the nonprofit membership organization created to preserve the Golden Gate National Parks, enhance the experiences of park visitors, and build a community dedicated to conserving the parks for the future. The Conservancy is an authorized "cooperating association" of the National Park Service, and is one of more than 70 such nonprofit organizations working with national parks around the country. To learn more, please visitwww.parksconservancy.org or call (415) 561-3000.