Temporary Closure of Waters Around Alcatraz Island
From 7/3 to 9/22 a 500’ marine buffer zone is in effect, closing the perimeter of Alcatraz Island to all private vessels to protect nesting seabirds during America's Cup racing. Tours to Alcatraz continue as usual during the races. More »
Muir Beach (but not nearby Muir Woods) closed July 8-November 2013, but local businesses are open
Though Muir Beach is closed from July 8-November 2013 due to construction, the PELICAN INN IS OPEN. Restrooms and parking are not available at Muir Beach. Pacific Way is closed except to residents. Check back for updates or call (415)561-3054. More »
CAUTION: Post Storm Damage to Coastal Trail
The Presidio Coastal Trail segment just north of the Pacific Overlook and adjacent to Lincoln Blvd remains CLOSED indefinitely. We have posted signage to alert bicyclists and hikers and with information for safe trail alternatives. More »
Rivers and Streams
A number of creeks criss-cross the park – from Redwood Creek to Lagunitas, Tennessee Valley, Gerbode, and Lobos Creeks. When biologist speak of the life of creeks, they use the term riparian corridor. This includes the water itself as well as the vegetation on and alongside the banks. In the arid central California coast these wet areas are oases for plant and wildlife species. Riparian corridors are usually dominated by dense stands of trees such as red alders, bay laurel, big-leafed maple, or buckeye. These riparian forests have an understory of shrubs such as elderberry and flowering currant, vines such as blackberry and honeysuckle, and ferns. Wetland species such as rushes, sedges, horsetail, watercress, smartweed and water parsley grow in or along the water’s edge. Right next to the water Arroyo willow, wax myrtle, and California dogwood grow.
It is called a riparian corridor because water sources flow from high ground to low ground, through a variety of different habitats. Because they are long and narrow like hallways, they provide runways of movement for animals from the highlands to the lowlands, and vice versa. Many of the shrubs and vines of the riparian zone have berries or lush leaves. The trees harbor a myriad of insects, important to migrating songbirds such as flycatchers, warblers, and vireos as they stop to rest and feed on their journeys of thousands of miles. Riparian corridors are also critical habitat for amphibians such as tree frogs, newts, salamanders, and the endangered red-legged frog. Salamanders and banana slugs abound in the underbrush and decomposing logs beneath the big trees.
Each winter the Coho salmon and steelhead trout find their way up Redwood and Lagunitas Creeks to spawn where they were born. Fish and amphibians require cool water and shade to survive. The overhanging willow and alder foliage keeps the water cool even in intense sun. The roots of the trees twine out of the streambed, slowing the water and providing deep, dark overhangs in which to rest and hide. Insect larvae such as stoneflies, dragonflies, and caddis flies live their young lives in stream beds attached to stones and debris before living the rest of their lives in the air. Other invertebrates such as amphipods, leeches, and worms live their entire lives on the stream bottoms. These small decomposers break down vegetation in the stream and themselves provide food for freshwater shrimp and fish.
Did You Know?
In November of 1969 American Indians being relocated and terminated by the U.S. government occupied the then vacant island of Alcatraz. Their 18 month occupation would bring an end to the federal termination policy, saving the tribes.