Centuries of Defense - National Park Service Era (1970-Present)

The U.S. military down-sized in the 1980s and 1990s. Congress indentified many military areas for surplus to reduce costs, including several in the San Francisco Bay Area. Urban parks were gaining popularity to reach the residents of growing cities such as San Francisco. Public-led conservation movements like the People for a Golden Gate National Recreation Area worked to preserve open space. From these events, the largest national urban park was born.

Fort Point and the newly created GGNRA
Fort Point and visitors walking through the newly created GGNRA

Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, Fort Point Dedication Slides, GOGA 6469.07 & PFGGNRA Papers, GOGA 35304

  • 1970 - Fort Point National Historic Site established by the National Park Service.

  • 1972 - Golden Gate National Recreation Area

    President Nixon signs the bill to create the Golden Gate NRA. Alcatraz, Fort Point, Muir Woods, Fort Mason and other National Park Service lands administered by the new park.
GOGA 18326 Alcatraz tour in 1979
Alcatraz ranger leading tour through the former federal prison

GGNRA, Park Archives, Richard Frear Photograph Collection, GOGA 18326

  • 1973 - Alcatraz Island opened to the public for visitation

  • 1974 - 1975 - Marin Headlands, Fort Miley and Lands End added to Golden Gate NRA

    National and local actions add the first of many new lands to the park.

  • 1989 - Base Realignment and Closure Act

    Congressional act lists the Presidio of San Francisco for closure by 1995. Original park legislation from 1972 designates inclusion in Golden Gate NRA.

  • 1990 - Coast Guard Station at Fort Point decommissioned; moves to Fort Baker
Aerial view of Fort Baker
Aerial view of Fort Baker


Removing Army Headquarters sign
Removing Army Headquarters sign

Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, Sixth Army Inactivation Photographs, 1994, GOGA-2278

  • 1994 - Presidio of San Francisco transfers to the National Park Service

    Oldest contiously-operating military base in the country closes.

  • 1995 - Fort Baker transfers to the National Park Service

  • 2000 - The last soldiers leave Fort Baker

Original panel for the "National Park Service Era (1970-Present)" (PDF 39.5MB)


Last updated: February 28, 2015

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Building 201, Fort Mason

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