Presidio of San Francisco (February 6, 2009) -- "Imagine passing through a beautiful forest, while catching stunning glimpses of the Pacific Ocean and Marin Headlands, then emerging into coastal scrub," says Amy Deck project manager for trails with the Presidio Trust. Presidio visitors now have the opportunity to do just that as the new Immigrant Point/Coastal Connector Trails opens to the public this week.
The Presidio's "1,000 steps" may not be the longest trail in the park, but it creates a needed safe and well-defined path from the sandy, forested area below the Immigrant Point Overlook and picnic area to the Presidio's wild western coastal bluffs. Previously, visitors wanting to reach the popular California Coastal trail had to forge their own way across the hillside, creating "social trails" that can cause erosion and harm natural areas.
Work on the new trail began in mid-November. With the help of the recent spring-like weather, it took just two months to complete. The pathway links several major trail corridors: the California Coastal Trail, the Batteries to Bluffs Trail, the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, and the Bay Area Ridge Trail. It also provides access to Baker Beach, the Immigrant Point Scenic Overlook and Picnic Area, and Rob Hill Campground.
The new trail includes stairs and a small bridge, among other features. Stunning sunsets over the Pacific Ocean can be glimpsed from the pathway.
The project was made possible in large part by federal funding provided in support of the Trails Forever initiative, an effort to enhance trails throughout the Golden Gate National Recreation Area sponsored by the Presidio Trust, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and the National Park Service.
The Immigrant Point/Coastal Connector Trail is one of many new trails and bikeways being constructed at the Presidio. Presidio trails and overlooks are being transformed thanks to a lead gift and challenge grant from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. Twelve major trail corridors are being overhauled as part of this comprehensive, 3-year trail improvement program. Once complete, the trail network will provide a variety of journeys - from more rugged experiences to in-road bike lanes for experienced cyclists, and wide multi-use trails where pedestrians and bicycles share the path. In total, more than 24 miles of major trails and 19 miles of in-road bike lanes are planned.
"The park's trail network is perhaps the most important feature connecting people with the Presidio. Once complete, it will encourage visitors to delve into the park's 1,491 acres - to explore, at their own pace and in their own way, the park's amazing landscapes," says Deck.
In addition, a series of scenic overlooks will provide places for visitors to rest and take in the park's dramatic and diverse views. Immigrant Point is one of the three existing overlooks, along with the Crissy Field Overlook and Inspiration Point. In all eight overlooks are planned.
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to oversee the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The 1,500-acre site contains expansive open space and spectacular views, a 300-acre historic forest, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. It also comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to its status as a National Historic Landmark District."