People of the Parks: Conservationists
The park began as an idea in the minds of a few dedicated people, Conservationists, who believed in preserving the land and its history near an urban environment for the enjoyment of future generations. These conservationists led strong grass-roots organizations, like People for a Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which were instrumental in the creation of the GGNRA. They provided leadership for activism in the local community and, with the support of local politicians, prevented new developments and construction on lands that are now part of the national park.
The NPS now manages these parklands. NPS staff is dedicated to the care and interpretation of the GGNRA, ensuring the park is a place to be enjoyed by all people. Natural Resources staff monitor and record diverse ecosystems found within park landscapes. Cultural Resources staff document the history of the sites by collecting and preserving historic objects, conducting site surveys, and compiling reports using park archival materials. Park Maintenance staff ensures that park facilities and systems operate smoothly. Interpretive Park Rangers connect the public with the unique stories and features of GGNRA.
The GGNRA would not be the park it is today without the assistance of its partners and the community. In order to maintain such a large area with so many historic structures and varied landscapes, the GGNRA partners with organizations that share the National Park Service values of education, preservation, and interpretation. These partners include organizations like NatureBridge, Headlands Center for the Arts, and the Fort Mason Center. One of the largest park partners, and the official support group of the GGNRA, is the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. The Conservancy assists the GGNRA with the creation of educational programs, grant development, volunteer organization, gift shop and bookstore management, and habitat restoration throughout the park.
Volunteers who work with park partners and with the NPS donate thousands of hours each year to help maintain and interpret sites within the GGNRA. Every day, groups of people are found throughout the park contributing to important NPS projects. People can give a few hours every year or every week, participating in activities like interpretive walks, historic military sites preservation, vegetation removal, and habitat restoration with native plants.
The NPS and park partners believe in nurturing the next generation of conservationists by offering programs that build leadership, promote local volunteerism, and develop connections to nature and history. Through internships, local students support park archaeologists in surveys and excavations, work on habitat restoration, and preserve museum collections. All activities provide the foundation for young people to become future park stewards.