Plan Ahead for Park Activities During Fourth of July Holiday at Golden Gate National Recreation Area

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Date: July 1, 2011
Contact: Alexandra Picavet, 415-786-8021

Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Calif.Golden Gate National Recreation Area expects heavy use of beaches, parking lots, trails, and historic sites this Fourth of July weekend. The National Park Service would like to pass on these tips for a safe and enjoyable holiday.

Use Public Transportation to the Park

The National Park Service urges visitors to use public transportation to get to the park's many sites. Take MUNI, Golden Gate Transit, SamTrans, or the PresidioGo shuttle to avoid full parking lots (which will fill up early in the day) and to spend more time having fun in the national park. For information on transit options go to www.511.org and follow links for transit providers, schedules and route maps. On July 4, MUNI 76 will operate throughout the Marin Headlands, subject to detours and delays.

Traffic & Parking

In the Marin Headlands, Conzelman Road at Highway 101 will be closed due to construction. In the interest of public safety for the July 4th weekend, Conzelman Road from just west of Battery Spencer to the McCullough roundabout will remain closed to vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians. Conzelman Road from Alexander Avenue, up to and including Battery Spencer, will be open to the public under traffic control, between the hours of 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM, in order to maintain emergency vehicle access and safe conditions between 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM on July 2-3. On July 4th, Conzelman will remain closed to all vehicles at Alexander Avenue, except to those with valid camping permits, from 7:00 AM to 5:30 PM. Traffic control and road closures along this section of road, including Northwest Bridge Parking Lot, can come into effect throughout this holiday weekend. Fort Baker parking lot is expected to fill up. Visitors should both expect delays and consider alternate viewing locations this year during contruction. For daily updates on Marin Headlands road construction within GGNRA visit www.projectheadlands.gov.

In San Francisco, due to Doyle Drive construction expect delays, detours and limited parking near the Golden Gate Bridge. For updates on Doyle Drive construction and detours, visit www.presidioparkway.org. Parking will be limited along the waterfront and Marina Boulevard, and roads are expected to be congested along Crissy Field and East Beach, especially after the fireworks show on July 4th. Please take your time and plan ahead.

Park Service Led Activites Throughout the Weekend in GGNRA

Many activities and attractions in the Marin Headlands do not require the use of Conzelman Road. For example:

  • The Nike Missile Site Open House will be Saturday, July 2 from 12:30 PM until 3:30 PM.
  • The Point Bonita Lighthouse is open Saturday to Monday 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM but the suspension bridge crossing to the lighthouse remains closed.
  • Battery Townsley at Fort Chronkite,San Francisco's most extensive and secret World War II military fortification, will be open for public tours on July 3, 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM.
  • Learn about Lighthouses of San Francisco Bay and Coastal Defenses of San Francisco Bay, both led by docent Warren Riley on July 4, 11:00 AM and 1:30 PM, respectively. Meet inside the Marin Headlands Visitor Center, 948 Fort Barry, Sausalito. Call 415-331-1540 for reservations.
  • The Marine Mammal Center is open 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily, where you can enjoy a one hour docent-led tour or the new audio tour to see how the Center cares for seal and sea lion patients. Check out their new art exhibit "Washed Ashore: plastics, sea life and art" featuring 15 beautiful and massive marine life sculptures made from ocean trash. 2000 Bunker Road, Fort Chronkite, Sausalito. 415-289-7325 www.marinemammalcenter.org
  • The Bay Area Discovery Museum at Fort Baker is closed on Monday, July 4th, but is open Tuesday-Friday 9:00 AM-4:00 PM, and Saturday and Sunday 10:00 AM-5:00 PM. Fort Baker, 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito. www.baykidsmuseum.org
  • Ranger-led programs in the Presidio include D-Day at the Last Gun, on July 2 and 3 from 11:00 AM until 3:00 PM. Learn about the last operational gun of its kind at Battery Chamberlin. Meet at north end of Baker Beach parking lot.
  • On July 2 from 10:00 AM to Noon, learn about pier crabbing in San Francisco Bay at Fort Point and try your luck. Call 415-556-1693 for reservations.
  • On July 3 from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM join Pacifica historian Jerry Crow for a Mori Point Meander to learn about restored habitat. Leashed dogs welcome. Gather near gate at south end of Bradford Way in Pacifica. Reservations recommended at 415-561-4323.

Fireworks The use of personal fireworks is prohibited at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, including at Ocean Beach. There are many reasons for this prohibition including public safety and the negative effects of fireworks on wildlife. The Bay Area is home to many species of birds, and July is nesting season for many of them, including Bank Swallows, Double-Crested Cormorants, Great Blue Herons, and American Avocets. Many fledglings have left the nest yet remain vulnerable to disturbance. Birds may abandon their nests due to illegal fireworks explosions. Park Police and Park Rangers patrolling GGNRA will confiscate and issue citations for using illegal fireworks.

Ocean Safety With sunshine and warm temperatures predicted for the weekend, the water may look tempting. Beware of dangerous rip currents, cold water, and high waves at ocean beaches. Stinson Beach is the park's only designated beach for ocean swimming, and has recently witnessed Great White shark sightings, so use caution and pay attention to last minute closures. Please do not swim at other beaches, including Ocean Beach and Baker Beach. In case of an emergency, call 911 or 415-561-5656.

Beach Fires Be considerate of neighbors, especially if you use a beach at night. Fires are allowed at Muir Beach and between Lincoln Way and Fulton at Ocean Beach within designated fire rings. Remember that beach fires must be smaller than three feet in diameter and extinguished with water, not sand, until it is cold to the touch. Pack out all of your trash when you leave.

Glass and Alcohol on the Beaches For your safety, glass bottles and containers are prohibited on all beaches and will be confiscated. Glass containers are also prohibited on the sidewalks and seawall at Ocean Beach. Consumption of alcohol is not allowed at Ocean Beach, Sutro Baths, and some other park areas. Please practice "Leave No Trace" ethics by packing out what you pack in.

Volunteer Park Stewardship Activities are a fun way to enjoy the holiday by lending a hand to restore and maintain priority parklands within GGNRA. Programs available on Saturday, July 2 in Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo Counties. Call 415-561-3044 or visit www.parksconservancy.org/volunteer. For information on other activities and maps of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, visit the park's website: www.nps.gov/goga.

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Last updated: February 28, 2015

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