Crissy Field: A National Treasure at the Golden Gate National Parks

May 12, 2011


Press Release
Crissy Field and the Crissy Field Center celebrate 10 years of connecting communities with their national parks 

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., May 12, 2011: The post to park transformation of Crissy Field from a former military dump site to San Francisco’s favorite bay front backyard park commemorates its 10th year in May 2011.

The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) transformed Crissy Field in 2001 with support from over 2,400 community donors, including a lead gift from the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. Since then, Crissy Field has paid us back in millions of memories.

One of the legacies of Crissy Field’s transformation is the Crissy Field Center—a partnership of the Parks Conservancy, NPS, and Presidio Trust—that helps connect communities with their national parks. The community came together to transform Crissy Field in 2001 and the Crissy Field Center was established that same year to transform the community. By providing innovative ecological education programs to young people from our urban neighborhoods, the Center hopes to spark positive environmental change for today and tomorrow.  

Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, visited the Center in October 2010 to experience the unique programs first hand and interact with students. And in April 16, 2010 Ernesto Pepito, director of youth programs at the Center was invited by President Obama to serve as the youth voice on a panel about the America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) initiative.

“The Crissy Field Center hosted the first AGO youth listening session in the Bay Area where 200 youth attended to discuss challenges and potential solutions on how to engage youth and urban residents in the outdoors in the 21st century,” said Pepito. “My participation at the national level was as a direct result of our work here at the Center and Golden Gate National Parks where we create opportunities for urban youth to engage with our national parks, and eventually become leaders in America’s great outdoors.”

More than 1 million people enjoy Crissy Field each year—walkers, joggers, bikers, surfers, kite flyers, families with strollers, and local, national, and international visitors. And, the Center has become an exemplary model for the role national parks can hold in offering learning experiences that allow young people to become bold environmental leaders.

To celebrate 10 years of inspiring and engaging youth, we present 10 facts that illustrate how the Crissy Field Center—a partnership of the Parks Conservancy, National Park Service, and Presidio Trust—has become a model for environmental education for parks across the country.

  1. The Center collaborates with over 100 community organizations across the Bay Area to reach youth who traditionally have not experienced their national parks. 
  2. From 2001 to early 2011, the Center has provided over 1.3 million hours of quality environmental programs to nearly 590,000 kids, parents, and community members.
  3. Center programs have served every public junior high and high school in San Francisco, and 67 of the 72 public elementary schools. 
  4. The Center—through the generosity of its supporters—has awarded $256,000 in transportation grants to ensure that all neighborhood groups have access to their national parks. 
  5. Camping at the Presidio, a partnership program with Bay Area Wilderness Training and supported by the Presidio Trust, has provided over 6,100 campers and their group leaders with unforgettable trips to Rob Hill Campground. 
  6. Nearly 650 scholarships have been given to children to attend Crissy Field Center Summer Camps; with nearly 40 percent of participants receiving scholarships in 2010. 
  7. To reflect increasing diversity in California and across the U.S., 85 percent of high school interns in the Center’s Inspiring Young Emerging Leaders (I YEL) program represent communities of color. 
  8. A ladder of learning and growth, the Center has helped connect 370 young people to “green” jobs—from policy work to eco camps. 
  9. The Center’s programs—like Urban Trailblazers (UTB) aimed at inner-city junior high students—leave a lasting impact; 89 percent of UTB participants in 2010 said the program inspired them to eat healthier and be more active. 
  10. Through a renewable energy project, the Center aims to become a “net zero” energy consumer. The wind turbines and solar panels are just some of the many cutting-edge green technologies at work in the Center—a living demonstration of sustainability practices.

And here is a list of experiences that each of us can enjoy today and going forward to help celebrate Crissy Field Center’s 10 years:

  • “Work” socially. Become a Parks Conservancy fan at, follow our Twitter feed at parks4all, post pictures to our Flickr gallery at and tell your friends.  
  • Pitch in. Volunteer at the Golden Gate National Parks. Learn about opportunities to give back to this beloved park site (or others as well) at
  • Camp out. In today’s digitally connected world more and more young people rarely experiencing the great outdoors beyond their own backyards. Camping at the Presidio (CAP) at Rob Hill Campground in the Presidio was established to introduce underserved children to camping experiences—right in the heart of San Francisco. Go ahead, encourage the young people in your life to enjoy campfires! 
  • Hut to Hut:  Walk the 1.3 miles from the Beach Hut Café to the Warming Hut and enjoy fresh local organic food, drinks, park-related items, or just follow the constant backdrop of our golden bridge. All purchases support youth education programs at the Crissy Field Center.
  • Crissy Caper: Take a walk, bike through, or just pause and soak in the gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco’s favorite bayside backyard.