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Two dozen parks have opened in San Francisco since 2020, including what The Chronicle calls "the spectacular Presidio Tunnel Tops," a triumph of imagination and generosity of Bay Area donors. Tunnel Tops cost $118 million — $98 million of which was raised by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.
Allen Fish, Director of the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory--a long-term, community-science program of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, in cooperation with the National Park Service--tells us all about their hawk count and banding operation, as well as some of the fascinating projects and partners that connect to this community science effort.
For an inspiring, all-ages journey, gather around a campfire with Golden Gate views at Presidio Tunnel Tops in San Francisco.
Shelagh Fritz’s primary job is curating and preserving the Alcatraz garden as it was planted decades ago. She identifies plants in photographs and researches them through a lens of sustainability. She enjoys combining research with being on the ground and doing the work.
As the Golden Gate National Recreation Area begins its celebration of 50 years, The Standard spoke with Parks Conservancy CEO Chris Lehnertz about what drives the organization's mission to “activate” its national parklands.
This headline was too easy. After all, the 14-acre Presidio Tunnel Tops, which opened on July 17, was three arduous decades in the making. How did a wrecked roadway — structurally compromised by the Loma Prieta earthquake — become a prodigious park?
Christine Lehnertz has always held a deep appreciation for the outdoors. The president and CEO of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, which has raised over $624 million since its founding in 1981, has a long career in public service and a deep committment to the Conservancy's mission.
“The bulk of the feedback,” says Chris Lehnertz, President and CEO of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, the park’s nonprofit partner, “is that people just wanted a place where they could hang out.”
Nothing like Presidio Tunnel Tops exists in the Bay Area, in terms of size or natural history, or in terms of being free to everyone. That is thanks to the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, which privately raised $98 million to go with the $20 million supplied by the Presidio Trust, which oversaw the job.
The brand new Presidio Tunnel Tops park opened to the public Sunday morning on July 17 and the reaction was thoroughly positive. John Ramos reports.
Chris Lehnertz, the president and CEO of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, explained that the 14 acres of new park was made possible through the support of many San Francisco philanthropists, in what was one of the largest fundraising campaigns for public open space in the city’s history — raising $98 million of the park’s $118 million budget.
“When the Highway separated that area, it really created an ecological disconnect,” says Lew Stringer, Presidio naturalist and consultant on the flora for Tunnel Tops. “We want these plants to create an inviting landscape that will feel like a gorgeous garden.”