From Plates to Clouds to Dunes
Situated on the northern tip of the San Francisco peninsula, the cool Pacific waters surrounding the Presidio produce a moderate Mediterranean climate. This climate, coupled with a unique blend of serpentine soils and mobile sand dunes, sparked an explosion of plant and animal life adapted to the unusual conditions here.
PLANTS AND ANIMALS
The plants created worlds within worlds as each species carved out an exclusive community of life. The Presidio holds an unusually high number of rare and endangered plants. For example, the roots for the endangered Presidio Clarkia (Clarkia franciscana) can traced to the unusual serpentine grasslands found here. Beautiful wildflowers abound in the spring and summer, and the Presidio's animals include over 200 species of birds.
One odd twist of fate: The U-S Army is the reason the Presidio is like an environmental lifeboat. The Army focused construction in only certain areas. The rest of the undeveloped land was left … undeveloped. Because it was a military base, civilian access was also limited. The native plants and animals were protected as a by-product of military priorities.
Did You Know?
Major Jonathan Letterman--after whom the hospital at the Presidio was renamed in 1911--was the medical director of the Army of the Potomac. A founding father of military medicine, Letterman organized forward first-aid stations, mobile field hospitals, and ambulance services during the Civil War.