Presidio of San Francisco (September 29, 2008) -- The Presidio forest is one of the park's defining features. In fact it would be hard to imagine the Presidio without its 300 acres of eucalyptus, pine, and cypress. Beginning this week, the Presidio Trust is offering the public a chance to learn more about the park's nearly 60,000 trees through guided walks with the Presidio's forester. The four-walk series, beginning on Saturday, October 4, will explore some of the Presidio's most beautiful groves, including places where aging trees are gradually being replanted.
Planted by the Army in the late 1800s, the historic forest is the most dramatic example of how people shaped the Presidio's landscape. Now more than 100 years old, the trees provide habitat for birds and wildlife, and contribute to the Presidio's National Historic Landmark status.
But while the eucalyptus continue to thrive, the pines and cypress are declining. Each year, the Presidio Trust replants two to three acres, staggering the effort to create an uneven-aged forest that can be more easily sustained. Since 2002 the Trust has planted nearly 2,000 trees and is preserving the qualities that define the forest's character, such as the orderly military alignment of trees.
The walks begin this Saturday, October 4, with a stroll along the Presidio Promenade and continue every other Saturday through November 15. The series features a walk through the dramatic eucalyptus groves on Lovers' Lane, the Presidio's oldest trail; a visit to the Presidio nursery, where many of the trees used in the reforestation process are grown; and one of the first looks at "The Spire", a new sculpture by artist Andy Goldsworthy that celebrates the rebirth of the Presidio forest.
Walks are lead by Presidio forester Peter Ehrlich, who is implementing the Presidio Trust's plan for revitalizing the forest over the next several decades. Ehrlich was previously the urban forester for the City of San Francisco, with responsibility for trees in Golden Gate Park, city parks, golf courses and open spaces.
All walks run from 10 am to noon. There is no fee, but space is limited. To reserve a spot, call (415) 561-5418 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Layered clothing and comfortable shoes are recommended.
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to manage the Presidio of San Francisco, a former army base located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The 1,500-acre site contains the infrastructure of a small city as well as expansive open space, a 300-acre historic forest, spectacular views, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. It comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to its status as a National Historic Landmark District, making it unlike any other national park. In establishing the Trust, Congress mandated that it make the park financially self-sufficient by 2013. The Trust is the only federal agency with this mandate."