August 25th marks the 100th Anniversary of America’s National Park Service, and celebrations are happening at some of the best-known natural wonders in this country. Places like Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and the Great Smoky Mountains. Among these famous national treasures are some lesser known gems like the Presidio that hold not just great historical importance, but also a glimpse into how the National Parks are evolving and making themselves sustainable for the future.
If you had visited Mountain Lake 20 years ago, you would have been underwhelmed. This small urban lake at the southern tip of the Presidio was severely polluted and choked with algae. Resident bird and fish populations were dying off. It was a sad state of affairs for one of the most important natural and historical sites in the city.
Just up the road to the south of the Inn there is a peaceful green glade full of the sound of birds and the trickle of a water. The waters spring from the underlying serpentine rock and sustain a lush riparian habitat that is one of San Francisco’s most diverse spots for birds, butterflies, and native flora. This spot, El Polín Spring, has been the heart of the human and natural history of San Francisco for many centuries. With its native plant and animal life restored as part of the complex Tennessee Hollow Watershed restoration project, the waters of El Polín now nourish a new generation of San Francisco residents and visitors.
Long before centuries of military activity and construction projects covered up the area known as The Tennesse Hollow Watershed, it was home to a system where three creeks and freshwater springs came together to create a natural bird habitat and primary freshwater source for the marsh at Crissy Field. By redirecting water, removing fill and re-introducing thousands of native plants a new habitat is being created. Today, thanks to the support of the community over a decade, the MacArthur Meadow is now in the process of being restored. MacArthur Meadow, at the base of the historic Lover’s Lane is where the three creeks originally converged. Once the restoration is complete, an elevated boardwalk and panels highlighting the history and ecology of this site will be set in place for all to enjoy.
With so many wonderful museums and cultural points of interest, it can be hard to decide exactly what to explore and experience while visiting our city. Above is a video highlighting a few points of interest that we recommend visiting while staying at the Inn at the Presidio along with a brief history and description of each.
SF MOMA (Museum of Modern Art): Although currently under construction, SF MOMA is making its mark throughout the city with rotating installations, talks and performances. SF MOMA ON THE GO is the name of this innovative program. More information on where to find the next event on the rooster can be found here.