Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) is one of the largest urban national parks in the world. Established in 1972 to bring “parks to the people,” GGNRA’s nearly 76,000 acres of land and water extend north of the Golden Gate Bridge to Tomales Bay in Marin County and south to San Mateo County. The park has nearly 60 miles of bay and ocean shoreline. These lands represent one of the nation’s largest coastal preserves and attract 16 million visitors each year, making GGNRA one of the National Park Service’s most highly visited sites.
The Golden Gate comprises numerous sites including the Marin Headlands, a Nike Missile Site, Fort Mason, Muir Woods National Monument, Fort Point National Historic Site and the Presidio of San Francisco. Each has its own unique natural, cultural and military history.
One of the most visible GGNRA sites is Alcatraz Island, attracting more than 1.7 million visitors each year. Alcatraz Island is being preserved for the enjoyment and understanding of future generations. Former prison buildings are being conserved and seismically upgraded and additional areas of the Island are opened to the public as safety hazards are removed. Seabirds are returning in ever-greater numbers and naturalists carefully follow the number of eggs laid during the eight-month long nesting season. Much of this work is carried out by dedicated Alcatraz “Volunteers In Parks” (VIPs) who lead guided walks, carry out bird census, help restore long-neglected gardens and preserve historic structures around the Island.
More work needs to be done, though, and the Park Service is always looking for additional volunteers and donors. If you would like to help save Alcatraz Island, visit the National Park Service Volunteer section. For more detailed information visit Golden Gate National Recreation Area or National Park Service.
The key partner in protecting and preserving Alcatraz Island and the rest of the 75,398- acre Golden Gate National Recreation Area is the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy (http://parksconservancy.org/). Established in 1981, the Park Conservancy’s mission is to:
- Preserve the Golden Gate National Recreation Area
- Enhance the experiences of park visitors
- Build a community dedicated to conserving Parks for the future