America's Best Idea

In anticipation of the premiere of Ken Burns’ new series "The National Parks: America’s Best Idea" (Sept. 27–Oct. 2 on KQED), celebrate the parks’ history and see their beauty.

Watch the series’ companion film, "This is America," chronicling the diversity of park pioneers, and enjoy ranger-led tours—for all ages and abilities—about the natural and cultural resources at Fort Baker. Don't forget to bring your camera!

September 26, 2009

National Public Lands Day, America’s largest hands-on volunteer event to improve and enhance our nation’s public lands, has a strong tradition at the Golden Gate National Parks. This year, the day holds an even greater significance with President Obama’s nationwide call to service and the September 27 premiere of Ken Burns’ film series, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea”, on KQED and public television stations nationwide.

Help us “Make America’s Best Idea Even Better” by volunteering at your cherished national parklands next door—the Golden Gate National Parks. We’ll have a number of project options to suit different interests and abilities, including habitat restoration, vegetation management and grounds and trail maintenance.

Choose your favorite activity and bring your energy, waiver form and proper clothing.We’ll take care of the rest (tools, supplies and project leadership). Bring the whole family and friends—the event is for EVERYONE. It’s fun, it’s healthy and it makes a difference!

Special Treats:

  • National Public Lands Day T-Shirts provided by Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.
  • A volunteer vacation grant raffle from Travelocity Travel for Good
  • National Park Foundation and partner giveaways
  • Lunch and a sneak preview of “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea”, specifically the film’s companion piece “This is America,” at the Crissy Field Center (following volunteer projects)

Individuals and groups are welcome. RSVP is requested and appreciated.

Contact us at (415) 561-3044 or

For more event details, visit

For more information on National Public Lands Day, visit


We expect 100-150 volunteers to participate in this signature event at Crissy Field. In addition, there will be over 400 volunteers participating at other project locations throughout the parks through our weekly drop-in programs.

Volunteers will include local Bay area community members, families and youth, as well as organized groups through local organizations and corporations.


8:45 AM

Breakfast and Volunteer Registration at the Crissy Field Center

9 AM

Welcome and Keynote Speakers

  • Overview of National Public Lands Day
  • Highlight the national call to service, broadcast of “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” and “Make America’s Best Idea Even Better” initiative
  • Volunteerism in the Golden Gate National Parks & our Park Partner Agencies
  • Speakers to include Park Executive Staff, representatives from National Public Lands Day and Take Pride in America, Sponsors, Public Officials

9:30 AM

Break into Project Teams and Head to Project Sites

9:45 AM

National Public Lands Day Volunteer Projects (9:45 am–Noon)

  • Activities will include habitat restoration, vegetation management and grounds and trail maintenance


Return to the Crissy Field Center

12:15 PM

Closing Remarks and Appreciation

Raffle & Volunteer Recognition

12:30 PM

Lunch and Viewing of the Ken Burns film, “This Is America” Presented as part of the “Make America’s Best Idea Even Better” initiative

Event Sponsors and Partners: This event is being generously co-sponsored by National Public Lands Day, Take Pride in America, Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc, Travelocity Travel for Good and CLIF BAR Green Notes. The event is also supported by the National Park Service, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Presidio Trust, National Park Foundation and National Park Foundation partners.

National Public Lands Day, the nation’s largest volunteer effort for public lands, is a project of The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF). NEEF partners with professionals in health, education, media, business and public land management to promote daily actions for helping people protect and enjoy the environment.

The “Make America’s Best Idea Even Better” initiative is a program of the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation. On September 26th, National Public Lands Day, all 391 national parks will welcome visitors and volunteers for a FREE day of service and celebration in the parks. As part of the festivities, parks will feature an exclusive sneak preview of Ken Burns’ new documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.

Last updated: March 31, 2012

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Building 201, Fort Mason

San Francisco, CA 94123-0022


(415) 561-4700
Pacific West Region Information Center (415) 561-4700 Special Event & Commercial Film Permits (415) 561-4300

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