Top: Martha Ehmann Conte, a Parks Conservancy Trustee, with interns Sarah, Anthony, and Tatyana of the I-YEL (Inspiring Young Emerging Leaders) program at Presidio Tunnel Tops; photo by Paul Myers. Bottom: Crissy Field summer stride program; photo by Alison Taggart-Barone.
Top: Maricela Leon-Barrera, early learning coordinator for San Francisco Public Library, with ranger Jasmine Reinhardt in Muir Woods. Bottom: Park Youth Collaborative educational program at Alcatraz. Hiking near Golden Gate Overlook; photo by Paul Myers.
Greg Reza, Marin County Parks volunteer program coordinator, and William Hough, One Tam youth and community program manager, at Roy Redwoods; photo by Paul Myers.Portrero branch public library shuttle program; photo by Alison Taggart-Barone.
Crissy Field summer stride program; photo by Alison Taggart-Barone.National Trails Day volunteer on Hawk Hill; photo by Maria Durana.
Top: Earth Day volunteers at Lands End. Bottom: National Trails Day volunteer on Hawk Hill. Photos by Maria Durana.

Parks for All Forever

Dear Friend of the Parks:

Board Chair Colin Lind and President & CEO Greg Moore

After 33 years of connecting people and fostering partnerships to protect, enhance, and care for the national parks north and south of the Golden Gate, I have come to my own big bridge.

In March, I announced that I will transition from my position as President & CEO of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy to a new role as Special Projects Advisor in early 2019. Even as I embark on this new journey, the important work of the Parks Conservancy continues.

It’s the work featured in our latest Report to the Community — innovative projects and programs in partnership with the National Park Service and Presidio Trust to restore vital ecosystems, improve visitor experiences, and establish meaningful relationships among people and the parklands.

It’s the work to preserve our natural and cultural resources for future generations; to cultivate an enduring community of stewards; and to ensure that our national parks are wholly accessible, inclusive, and relevant for all.

It’s the work that, in truth, has not really been “work” for me but more like a constant, collaborative expression of love — some three decades on.

To the Conservancy’s staff, members, donors, volunteers, partners, and supporters like you: thank you for your friendship, generosity, dedication, and kindness.

I am especially grateful for the guidance and passion of our volunteer Board of Trustees. Colin, you proudly carry forward the legacy of our amazing Board Chairs. I have every confidence that your talents and leadership will bring our dream of PARKS FOR ALL FOREVER ever closer to reality, even as I help the Conservancy realize our vision for the Presidio Tunnel Tops parkland in my new position.

I’m excited to cross this bridge, dear friends. After more than 30 years in these national parks, I’ve learned that both “ends” of the Golden Gate only melt into new beginnings — the twisting trails that lead to happy adventures beyond number.

With heartfelt gratitude,

President & CEO

4,721 Campers served in 2017 by Camping at the Presidio (a Parks Conservancy program in partnership with the Presidio Trust, National Park Service, and Bay Area Wilderness Training); 762 people were connected to the parks through community shuttles last year

Leaders Blaze New Trails

Community Connections

Sister Stephanie Hughes experienced first-hand how nature can restore body and soul. Michael Bennett saw how “park prescriptions” improved the health of the Bayview neighborhood in San Francisco. Learn how they‘re growing hope by strengthening connections between their community and the national parks. More

Sister Stephanie Hughes believes nature can restore body and soul. When she first started exploring the Presidio, she was using a walker—the result of a “horrible past” and health afflictions. But then, she stepped into the parks. “I felt the dirt under my feet and it was different; I felt alive,” she recalls.

Being outdoors changed her life, and now she wants “the community to heal in the same manner that [she] was healed.” After getting trained by Camping at the Presidio, Sister Stephanie has been bringing people from “fight or flight” neighborhoods roiled by violence to Rob Hill Campground. During the past 12 years, she has guided thousands of adults and kids from across the Bay Area on park trips. “A lot of the children are shut up and shut in and hurting, but when we bring them to open spaces, you can see the hardness shell away, like an onion,” she says, “because they are experiencing peace and tranquility for the very first time.”

Michael Bennett, another leader in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood, also saw how “park prescriptions” helped improve the health of his community. He was among the first to partner with the Conservancy’s Jennifer Greene Ringgold and other park staff in cultivating trust in the Bayview and arranging free shuttles to the Presidio. Since 2012, Michael has introduced hundreds of residents to their national parks — and he hopes to nurture even more park ambassadors through youth internships. “One of my dreams is for folks of color to have an opportunity to come out here and work in the Presidio,” Michael says.

Connecting People & Parks: Community Supporters from Parks Conservancy on Vimeo.

104,615 Native plants grown at Parks Conservancy nurseries to support 47 restoration projects across the Golden Gate National Parks, including the multiyear Lupine Diversification Project at Milagra Ridge and the Butterfly Translocation Project in partnership with the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Creekside Center for Earth Observation

Ecologist Plants a Brighter Future

Restoration on Milagra Ridge

Restoration specialist Ruby Kwan plays a vital role in the life cycle of endangered species in the parks. But she and her Conservancy colleagues do far more than just nurture mission blue butterflies and San Francisco garter snakes at a critical juncture in their lives. Discover who else benefits from their care. More

Like many of her Parks Conservancy colleagues, restoration specialist Ruby Kwan plays a vital role not just in the life cycle of endangered species in the parklands — but also in the lives of young people emerging into adulthood.

On a wet, windy day on Milagra Ridge, Ruby teaches the finer points of planting lupines to a group of students from Pacifica’s Oceana High School, including freshman Daniel Geronimo. It’s a new experience for soft-spoken Daniel, who continues to gain confidence (as well as ecological knowledge) as a volunteer for the Conservancy-managed native plant nursery at Oceana.

“Personally, what I like about this program is meeting some new friends and cooperating with lots of teamwork and effort,” Daniel says.

Ruby is part of a team that’s trying to reestablish healthy populations of lupine — a host plant for the endangered Mission blue butterfly. Last year, a multi-partner project “translocated” 30 of the butterflies to Milagra Ridge to boost the local population that was nearly wiped out.

As fulfilling as that difficult work has been, however, Ruby derives just as much satisfaction nurturing the growth of Oceana students. She’s an alumna. “It really brings great joy,” she says.

Connecting People & Parks: Ecologists & Students from Parks Conservancy on Vimeo.

26,731 Community members participated in San Francisco Public Library’s park-themed 2017 Summer Stride reading/learning program, in partnership with the Parks Conservancy and National Park Service; meanwhile, 642 people enjoyed guided shuttle trips from 11 library branches to nine national park sites — for many it was their first trip to the parklands

Librarians & Rangers Team Up

Conservancy Partnerships

As expert guides within the community, both park rangers and librarians connect people with invaluable resources — our shared legacy of learning, and our natural and cultural heritage. Find out how Maricela Leon-Barrera and Jasmine Reinhardt are bringing new innovations to the park…and bringing new visitors to their public lands. More

After bringing StoryWalks back from a conference, Maricela Leon-Barrera — early learning coordinator for San Francisco Public Library — says it’s “really exciting” to see how the concept has taken hold. Two StoryWalks were installed in 2017, guiding families through book pages posted along trails at Lands End and the Presidio. And one more storybook, sponsored by the Yosemite Conservancy, was placed at Tennessee Valley in 2018.

It’s just one example of how library-park collaborations are blossoming. This year is the third summer that the San Francisco Public Library, Parks Conservancy, and National Park Service (NPS) will theme the Summer Stride learning program around parks, host ranger talks at branch libraries, and offer free shuttles connecting local communities with national parks.

Inspired by that example, Ranger Jasmine Reinhardt — the NPS community outreach manager for Marin County — has cultivated similar partnerships with Marin County Free Library (MCFL) and San Rafael Public Library. By riding with MCFL’s Bookmobile, Jasmine developed relationships with ranch families in the Chileno Valley of northern Marin. Many of those residents were able to visit Muir Woods for the first time. “Being able to share this with them was so meaningful,” she recalls.

And thus love and appreciation for the parks — like great ideas — continue to spread as naturally as seeds reach for the sky.

Connecting People & Parks: Librarians & Rangers from Parks Conservancy on Vimeo.

18,019 kids, teens, and adults served in 2017, by 405 programs of the Crissy Field Center — the Parks Conservancy’s urban environmental education center

Trustee Sees Promise in Youth & New Park

Vision for Presidio Tunnel Tops

Sarah Hoang, Anthony Rodriguez, and Tatyana Chapman are high school students who have all grown into leaders through their experiences in the parks. Trustee Martha Ehmann Conte wants to ensure that even more young people have access to those life-changing programs. And a brand-new park will help realize that vision. More

Through the I-YEL (Inspiring Young Emerging Leaders) program at Crissy Field Center, Sarah Hoang gained the confidence to greet thousands of visitors on Alcatraz during a park internship. Anthony Rodriguez developed the skills to guide elementary school students at Rob Hill Campground for Camping at the Presidio programs. And Tatyana Chapman “grew out of [her] shell” to become a leader who encourages other participants to find their voice.

Sarah, Anthony, and Tatyana are among the 60,000 young people who benefit from youth leadership and education programs of the Parks Conservancy and its partner organizations at Golden Gate. The Presidio Tunnel Tops — a 14-acre parkland taking shape between Crissy Field and the Main Post — features an expanded youth campus that will introduce even more kids to life-changing park experiences, hands-on ecological lessons, and new career possibilities.

“Some of the additional facilities that are a part of the Tunnel Tops project are going to enable us to triple the number of youth that we can serve,” says Martha Ehmann Conte, a Parks Conservancy Trustee and a leading supporter of the Tunnel Tops. “That’s really the heart of what we are doing.”

The soul, meanwhile, is fostering connections between young people and their parklands — and among their peers.

“One of the values that I-YEL has is to reach out to other youths — kids who don’t usually come to the parks,” Sarah says.

Connecting People & Parks: Youth Leaders & Parks Conservancy Trustee from Parks Conservancy on Vimeo.

1,800 Community members introduced to hawk migration through Golden Gate Raptor Observatory docent programs in 2017, including 196 elementary school students in the Migratory Story program

Donor Carries His Wife’s Love of Birds Forward

Migratory Story on Hawk Hill

Tom Meyer sought to start an education program to honor his late wife, an avid Golden Gate Raptor Observatory volunteer. Educator Francis Taroc helped launch the program, which focuses on bird migration. But for many of the schoolchildren visiting Hawk Hill, the lessons hold a much deeper, and more personal, meaning. More

Seeing schoolchildren stretch out to mimic the wingspan of hawks was especially heartwarming for Tom Meyer, who sought to start a raptor education program when his wife Jennie Rhine passed away in 2014.

Tom wanted to connect kids and birds to remember Jennie, a longtime volunteer bander with the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory (GGRO). Through his gift, Parks Conservancy staff with the GGRO and Crissy Field Center created Migratory Story, a program that brings 4th and 5th graders from San Francisco Unified School District to Hawk Hill to study raptor migration. For many students who come from immigrant families, it's their first visit to a national park.

“Some of those students have only been in the country a couple weeks, so this theme of migration…they’re living it right now,” explains Francis Taroc, the Center’s senior specialist for environmental science.

While forging meaningful connections to the parks, the program also builds essential skills. “That process of inquiry and investigation is something that’s really important to build on, in whatever career or path these students take,” Francis says.

Tom adds that Jennie would have “a big smile on her face” — knowing that Migratory Story is helping kids spread their wings, at school and in life.

Connecting People & Parks: Donors & Educators from Parks Conservancy on Vimeo.

27,103 Volunteers organized by the Parks Conservancy, National Park Service, and Presidio Trust across the Golden Gate National Parks in 2017, with 3,242 volunteers engaged by the One Tam partners

Partners Collaborate on Mt. Tam

One Tam Volunteer & Youth Programs

Through One Tam (a collaboration of four public agencies and the Parks Conservancy), William Hough and Greg Reza bring volunteers to parklands on and around Mt. Tamalpais. By pulling people together to work toward a common goal, they find that participants — even teens — earn something far more satisfying than a retweet. More

For Greg Reza, volunteer program coordinator for Marin County Parks, there’s something almost primal about gathering community members to work toward a goal.

“When people come together to do restoration or trail work, we’re actually working together in the way that humans always have,” Greg observes. “We’re doing something that goes back way deep into our history.”

That spirit of camaraderie is the heart of One Tam—a collaborative of the Parks Conservancy, MCP, National Park Service, California State Parks, and Marin Municipal Water District. By sharing resources and expertise, the agencies can better care for Mt. Tamalpais and nurture a new generation of stewards through programs like LINC (Linking Individuals with the Natural Community).

Greg and William Hough, One Tam’s youth and community program manager, partner to lead 17 high schoolers on a seven-week internship experience across Mt. Tam. By the end, the students have grown as conservationists — and as teammates.

“What they’re getting back isn’t the instant gratification of a Tweet…they’re getting back from giving,” William says. “We’re in a neat position where we can teach people that—or not even teaching—facilitating them to learn on their own.”

And, of course, they learn from One Tam’s own example of teamwork.

Connecting People & Parks: Partner Agencies from Parks Conservancy on Vimeo.

150 Veterans helped in their recovery and rehabilitation, and connected to park resources and possible careers, through the W.A.R.I.O.R. (Wellness and Recovery Incorporating Outdoor Recreation) program, in partnership with the Parks Conservancy and National Park Service

Veterans Find Peace & New Purpose

W.A.R.I.O.R. Programs In The Parks

As a field artilleryman deployed in Afghanistan, former U.S. Army Sgt. Gilberto Estrada coped by expecting the worst, each and every day. Along with the Parks Conservancy and National Park Service, Mark Smith developed a program for veterans like Gilberto to enjoy the best of the parks — and explore paths to the future. More

Former U.S. Army Sgt. Gilberto Estrada was deployed in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012, providing security for bomb detection units and searching for “high value targets” with possible terrorist ties. Early on his deployment, a dump truck loaded with 1,400 pounds of homemade explosive drove up to the gate of his combat outpost and detonated.

“Pretty much after that day, my mentality — what I was trying to teach my soldiers — was: You have to be prepared, at any moment, to react,” Gilberto recalls. “My philosophy at that point was, tell yourself: ‘Something is going to happen today.’”

Although that vigilance helped him through those months, Gilberto says that, years later, he’s still working through the aftershocks of that stress. The Golden Gate National Parks — and welcoming park staff — have been instrumental in helping Gilberto recover and transition into civilian life.

He has worked as an intern on a Concrete Preservation Institute project on Alcatraz, weeded in the Alcatraz Historic Gardens, discovered new interests through the Presidio Archeology Lab, pitched in with the National Park Service trail crew, and found serenity in visiting parks “at least three times a week.”

“The soothing sensation of the water — and even the racket that the seagulls are making — it’s like, ‘Why would you not want to be out here?’” Gilberto says.

Gilberto has been a regular participant on guided trips to the park through the W.A.R.I.O.R. (Wellness and Recovery Incorporating Outdoor Recreation) program, started in 2016 by park staff in collaboration with Mark Smith, staff occupational therapist with the Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

“I’ve seen [the benefits] with many of the veterans who come on these trips,” Mark says. “They talk about really feeling a sense of calm and peace out there; they’re able to relax and let their guard down a little bit.”

Connecting People & Parks: Veterans Find Peace & Purpose from Parks Conservancy on Vimeo.

2017 Accomplishments

Crissy Promenade

Park Projects

Completed critical repair and resurfacing work on the Crissy Promenade to improve durability and sustainability of the beloved waterfront trail that serves over 1 million visitors each year.

Garnered recognition for the historic Alcatraz Quartermaster Warehouse Rehabilitation, named 2017 Project of the Year by the International Concrete Repair Institute, while advancing plans for improving the Alcatraz Embarkation experience.

Education Programs

Education Programs

Launched, an online portal to immersive educational programs across Golden Gate, offered by the partner organizations of the Park Youth Collaborative.

Delivered summer camps, school programs, educator trainings, and community outreach initiatives through the Crissy Field Center, the Parks Conservancy’s urban environmental education center in partnership with the National Park Service and Presidio Trust.

Community Programs

Community Programs

Aided in the rehabilitation of 150 veterans through hikes and park activities in partnership with W.A.R.I.O.R. (Wellness and Recovery Incorporating Outdoor Recreation) and other programs.

Engaged 14,948 community members through hikes, talks, and special events of One Tam—a collaboration of the Parks Conservancy, Marin Municipal Water District, National Park Service, California State Parks, and Marin County Parks.

Restoration & Conservation

Restoration & Conservation

Helped release 106 captive-reared coho salmon in Redwood Creek near Muir Beach, as part of a multi-agency, multi-phased project to prevent the endangered fish from going locally extinct.

Convened scientists and community members at the inaugural One Tam Science Summit, and released the seminal report Measuring the Health of a Mountain: A Report on Mt. Tamalpais’ Natural Resources.

Visitor Services

Visitor Services & Interpretation

Designed, constructed, and opened the William Penn Mott, Jr. Presidio Visitor Center in a converted historic guardhouse, through a tri-agency collaboration that was honored with a National Park Service Partnership Award.

Welcomed 6 million visitors at eight park information and visitor centers, including the Lands End Lookout; Warming Hut; and facilities at Muir Woods, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Social Impact

Social Impact

Propelled the Park Prescriptions movement nationwide through the Conservancy’s Institute at the Golden Gate program in partnership with the National Park Service, as the Institute released an essential toolkit and organized a signature event on Crissy Field for Park Rx Day.

Created website through the Institute’s leadership, providing a one-stop resource for climate educators across the Bay Area.

Find Your Park

The Golden Gate National Parks

Stretching across 80,000 acres and three counties, the Golden Gate National Parks include Golden Gate National Recreation Area (one of the most-visited national park units in the country), Muir Woods National Monument, and Fort Point National Historic Site.

In 2017, over 17.5 million people enjoyed these parks — more than the visitation to Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, and Shenandoah combined.

The Presidio

The Presidio Established by the Spanish in 1776, this post continues to evolve as a national park with new trails, overlooks, bikeways, and a recently opened visitor center.

Fort Point

Fort Point Tucked under the Golden Gate Bridge, this Civil War-era fortress is admired for its magnificent masonry — best appreciated on a candlelight tour.

Fort Baker

Fort Baker Former Army buildings have taken on new life as a LEED Gold-certified national park lodge featuring restored landscapes.

Olema Valley

Olema Valley Picturesque Victorian farmhouses and idyllic trails grace this valley adjacent to Point Reyes National Seashore.

Cliff House

Cliff House The third incarnation of this legendary San Francisco landmark features a world-class restaurant with breathtaking ocean vistas.

Point Bonita

Point Bonita The Point Bonita Lighthouse — moved to its current spot in 1877 — stands sentinel at the edge of the continent.

Crissy Field

Crissy Field Home to an environmental education center, a vast meadow, and a marsh teeming with bird life, the transformed Crissy Field is one of the most spectacular parks in America.

Muir Woods

Muir Woods Saved by William Kent and Elizabeth Thacher Kent and named for John Muir, this National Monument is beloved by all for its tall redwoods and serenity.

Fort Mason

Fort Mason A key port of embarkation during World War II, this site now hosts the nonprofit Fort Mason Center, a popular hostel, Golden Gate National Recreation Area headquarters, and Parks Conservancy offices.

Sutro Heights

Sutro Heights The former lands of San Francisco mayor Adolph Sutro showcase a charming garden and the nearby ruins of his gargantuan Sutro Baths.

Kirby Cove

Kirby Cove Known for its astounding campsites, this hidden cove offers a one-of-a-kind perspective of the Golden Gate Bridge.


Alcatraz The Rock, famous for its notorious federal prison, is also known for its seabird colonies and restored gardens once tended by residents.

Marin Headlands

Marin Headlands These majestic hills are dotted with historic batteries and old military installations — and lofty perches from which to spy migrating raptors.

Stinson Beach

Stinson Beach One of northern California’s most popular beaches, this vast stretch of white sand is a delight for swimmers, surfers, and picnickers.

Fort Funston

Fort Funston Visitors enjoy beach walks and the spectacle of hang gliders taking to the sky over windsculpted dunes.

Lands End

Lands End This park has been revitalized in recent years with enhanced trails, gorgeous overlooks, native plants, and an acclaimed visitor center.

Sweeney Ridge

Sweeney Ridge Just as Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola did in 1769, visitors today can take in stunning 360-degree panoramas of San Francisco Bay.

Tennessee Valley

Tennessee Valley A meandering trail winds through pastoral scenery to a hidden cove named for the shipwreck of the SS Tennessee.


Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy Fiscal Year 2017 Support to the Parks

Total Support 2017: $45,694,253*

  • Park Interpretation and Visitor Services $16,829,237 (37%)
  • Park Enhancements, Restoration, and Stewardship $22,848,736 (50%)
  • Youth, Volunteer, and Community Programs $6,016,280 (13%)

Total Support to the Parks, 1982–2017: $500 MILLION

Financial statements of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy are audited on an annual basis.

Copies of the complete audited financial statements are available upon request by calling the Parks Conservancy’s Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer at (415) 561-3000.

*Support to the park includes all program service expenses, excluding cost of goods sold and donated services.

to top