A Handbook for Managers of Cultural Landscapes with Natural Resource Values Conservation Study Institute
Presidio Historic Forest, photo by Nora Mitchell
Presidio Historic Forest, photo by Nora Mitchell



The Issue


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Presidio Historic Forest, photo by Nora Mitchell
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San Fransisco, California

Contact: Superintendent

Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Building 201, Fort Mason
San Fransisco, CA 94123

Presidio Trust
Presidio of San Francisco
34 Graham Street
P.O. Box 29052
San Francisco, California 94129-0052

photo by Nora Mitchell
Windswept landscape at the Presidio

Introduction to the Site as a Cultural Landscape: Recognizing Cultural and Natural Resource Values

The Presidio of San Francisco, a unit of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, is a cultural landscape that is listed as a national historic landmark. Its historic forest is an important contributing element to this designation. Used continuously as a military garrison for 220 years, the Presidio is unique among U.S. military posts in that it contains buildings and artifacts from its occupation first by Spanish and Mexican troops and then by the U.S. Army from 1846 up to the recent past. More than 500 of the Presidio's 870 buildings are considered significant features. Many of the historic buildings are leased for adaptive use by the Presidio Trust, an independent federal agency established legislatively in 1996 to co-manage the Presidio with the National Park Service.

photo by Nora Mitchell
Historic buildings wtihin desgined landscape

The Presidio encompasses 1,480 acres on the northern tip of the San Francisco peninsula where San Francisco Bay empties into the Pacific Ocean. Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the Presidio is one of Bay Area residents' most beloved sites and a familiar landmark to visitors from around the world. Its fog-enshrouded historic forest, stately buildings, and dramatic views of Golden Gate Bridge provide a refuge and cultural landmark amid a densely urbanized setting.

The landscape of the Presidio today also holds many natural values. The land shelters some of San Francisco's last remaining native plant communities, important habitat for 12 rare or endangered plant species, and the last free-flowing stream in the city. Interspersed with these natural areas are clusters of buildings and patches of historic forest.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

Gettysburg National Military Park

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park

Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park

The Presidio:
Crissy Field

The Presidio:
Presidio Forest

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Printable PDF Version of this Case Study

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