Presidio of San Francisco (April 27, 2010) -- Thousands of Bay Area families and groups will be falling asleep under the stars when San Francisco's only overnight campsite, the Presidio's Rob Hill Campground, re-opens Saturday, May 1. The campground has been undergoing 20-months of improvements made possible by a $4 million grant from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund.
The campground also will serve as the home of the Camping at the Presidio (CAP) program. Funded by the Presidio Trust and operated in partnership with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Bay Area Wilderness Training, and the National Park Service, the program trains adults from community organizations and schools to provide overnight camping experiences for children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to visit a national park. The campground will continue to be available to the public for group camping by permit.
"Rob Hill has long been one of the Presidio's hidden treasures," said Craig Middleton, the executive director of the Presidio Trust. "It has now been transformed into a spectacular wilderness oasis, offering San Francisco children and families a truly memorable experience€”gazing up at the stars, surrounded by an historic forest, listening to the ocean€”not far from their neighborhoods."
Sitting atop the Presidio's highest point, in a stand of eucalyptus trees overlooking Baker Beach and the Pacific, Rob Hill Campground has for decades welcomed scouts, school groups, and families for a wilderness experience just a stone's throw from city life. The rustic site originally featured just two campfire rings and had minimal amenities.
The campground has been expanded to include four group campsites that can accommodate 30 people each, new restrooms, a large stone campfire circle, and an indoor "Great Room" for educational programs.
"The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund's generosity to our national parks€”from Crissy Field to the Presidio€”has opened up these amazing places for so many more people to enjoy. This gift for Rob Hill has provided for many wonderful improvements at the campground," said Greg Moore, Executive Director of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. "Visiting a national park can be a transformative experience for young people," Moore said. "The improvements made to the campground mean we will be able to offer that experience to thousands of Bay Area children who don't often get the chance to explore, let alone camp in, a national park."
The Haas, Jr. Fund's gift to enhance and expand Rob Hill Campground was part of a $15 million gift to the Parks Conservancy for improvements in the Presidio, including support for implementation of a 24-mile trail network. "One of the many passions my parents shared with our family was creating opportunities for people to enjoy great public spaces, to get outside, and to connect with nature, " said Walter J. Haas, Chair of the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund and son of its founders. "Rob Hill Campground will now be a place where many more children and families will have the opportunity to pitch a tent in their national park, enjoy a s'more cooked over a campfire, and wake up in the woods to the sounds of nature."
The entire site has been reshaped, with gentler slopes to make the campground accessible to people with disabilities. New trees have also been planted as part of the Trust's ongoing efforts to sustain the park's historic forest. Wood from cypress trees felled as part of the reforestation program was used in the construction of the campground's seating and picnic areas and the new buildings.
"Rob Hill is a wonderful addition to the system of national park campgrounds," said Frank Dean, Acting Superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. "It's one of few places where families and kids from the San Francisco Bay Area can have their first national park camping experience only a few miles from their home. Many of these youths may not have an opportunity to visit other national parks."
The celebration of Rob Hill Campground's grand re-opening begins with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 am, followed by an open house beginning at 10:30 am, with events running continuously throughout the campground until 2 pm. For more information or to RSVP call (415) 561-3030 x2241. No parking at the site. Access to the site is by shuttle from the Main Post. Secure bicycle parking available at the site.
Rob Hill will continue to welcome groups and families by advance permit. A limited number of overnight camping opportunities remain available to the public for the 2010 season from June 1 through October 31. Reservations can be requested by calling Presidio Trust Special Events at (415) 561-5444, and are limited to a two night maximum. For more information about reservations visit ourRob Hill websitebeginning May 3.
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to administer the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park that is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is 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 National Park Service oversees the coastal areas of the Presidio. The park comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to the Presidio's status as a National Historic Landmark District.www.presidio.gov.
Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, established in 1981, 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 Parks Conservancy has raised more than $190 million to support park projects since its inception.www.parksconservancy.org. "