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.