GGNRA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project


The Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) is celebrating its 50th Anniversary. Established by Congress in 1972, the GGNRA offers a national park experience to a diverse urban population, while preserving and interpreting the park's outstanding natural, historic, scenic and recreational values. To commemorate this important year and continue the capture of the park’s history the GGNRA’s Museum Program is reinvigorating its Oral History Program.

People have made this park a success and these oral history interviews will celebrate the power and contributions of those people. Over 50 years ago people from broad backgrounds came together with an idea and a commitment to preserve these lands in an urban setting for a common good. Much has changed since the park was founded in 1972 but it is the GGNRA’s employees, community stewards, and partners who foster this idea and ensure it is realized and sustained for the nation and world. Newly captured accounts will highlight efforts to protect fragile ecosystems, maintain resources, partner in preservation, and explore untold stories that will encourage new generations of park supporters, stewards, and talent.


Key Emphasis

The key emphasis of this program will be on long-term GGNRA Employees, partners, and volunteers. Narrators should have a minimum of 10 years involvement with the park, but this project will consider all potential inquiries. The goal is to have a broad representation of people involved in the development of the park from many divisions, organizations, job titles, work locations, and participation.

Do you have recollections and stories of being:

A GGNRA Maintenance employee?
A GGNPC employee?
One of our long-time Partners (ex. Headlands Center for the Arts, Fort Mason Center, etc.)?
A GGNRA Life Guard?
Part of the GGNRA Planning Team?
Involved in the transfer of the Presidio of San Francisco?
An Alcatraz Ranger?
A long-time Park Volunteer?
A GGNRA Community Partner?
A Presidio Trust employee?
Or any other connection to the GGNRA. . .

Please download and complete the GGNRA Oral History Contact Form (pdf 155k); then send your form to GGNRA Museum Staff: email us (Amanda_Williford(at)

This project will also explore capturing group reflections or discussions. Attempts will be made to record multiple narrators in a single collective session. This should allow individuals involved in a specific park project, such as Cavallo Point, or reunion like situations such as the Alcatraz Rangers group, the opportunity to reflect on an area or achievement together, prompting memories and discussion.


Initial information forms will gather contact details and background of narrators —this information will include a brief summary of the individual’s assignment location(s), positions, and duties, and general topics or reflections that the person might contribute. This information is used to help craft more specific, individualized, and targeted questions.

We will schedule one-on-one interviews with those willing to participate in the program. A pre-interview to introduce the narrator and interviewer will take place soon before the formal recording. Interviews may be conducted over several sessions depending on amount of information available. Interviews will be primarily conducted at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area Park Archives and Records Center, and other pre-selected areas, but may also be done at other local sites, remotely over the phone, or through a video meeting platform. Interviews typically last from 1-1.5 hours. Visual aids may be used to assist in prompting memories of specific areas and operations.

Narrators will be asked to sign a Release Agreement transferring property and copyrights in the interview to the National Park Service at the conclusion of the interview. These conversations may be available to the public for research and to the park for use in developing public programs and documenting its history.


Questions and Recommendations

We welcome your questions about the oral history program and the process—we want you to feel comfortable! We also welcome your ideas and recommendations of folks who might be willing to participate. Please feel free to download the GGNRA Oral History Contact Form (pdf 155K) to complete and/or forward, email us, or call (415) 561-2808. Thank you!

Last updated: October 21, 2022

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Golden Gate National Recreation Area
201 Fort Mason

San Francisco, CA 94123


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