Bayview Hill is one of the largest of San Francisco’s Significant Natural Resource Areas, and it contains the most diverse habitats remaining in the City. Located just above Candlestick Park above the western shore of the Bay, Bayview forms a similar-sized bookend to Mt Davidson to its west.
Managed by the Natural Areas Program of the Rec&Park Department, Bayview Hill gets regular attention from two volunteer groups — San Francisco for Democracy and the Yerba Buena Chapter of the California Native Plant Society. So far there are no regular nearby neighborhood groups that work at Bayview Hill, but we hope that will one day change.
Bayview Hill has wonderful areas of coastal scrub, oak groves, and the largest population rare Islais cherry trees around.
Buena Vista Park
Buena Vista Park is home to one of the rare remnant oak woodlands left in San Francisco. This small Significant Natural Resource Area is managed by the Natural Areas Program and lovingly cared for by the members of the Buena Vista Park Restoration Project.
Corona Heights is one of the oldest of the habitat restoration projects. Randall Museum staff and local neighborhood activists began removing weeds from the summit grasslands back in the early 1990s. Corona Heights became an official GLS activity of the San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club shortly thereafter. Since 1999, the project has been led by the Natural Areas Program.
Edgehill Mt is a small, hidden gem in our park system. Local neighborhood activists began advocacy efforts in the early 1990s which ultimately led to acquisition of the property with Open Space Fund money. For the past eight years this project has been officially part of the Natural Areas Program.
The park contains mature Monterey pine and cypress trees along with plenty of invasive blue gum eucalyptus. The primary challenges here include English ivy, cape ivy, blackberry, and ehrharta grass. Remarkably, as we remove the carpets of invasives, we’ve found a strong resurgence of native scrub species from retained seed banks in the soil. We also have planted many native grasses and forbs. Indeed, the grasses have been particularly successful — so much so that Edgehill Mt was the location of the first-ever Poapalooza beginning native bunchgrass workshops held in San Francisco.
Glen Canyon is one of the larger Significant Natural Resource Areas in San Francisco, and it encompasses a wide variety of critical habitats—from grasslands to coastal scrub to creek-side riparian communities.
A very active Friends of Glen Canyon group has worked with the Natural Areas Program for many years. This group is composed largely of “analog” folks who may or may not gravitate to the online tools of the SF Natural Areas web site. You must not underestimate them or their activities based on what you may see of them here!
McLaren Park is the second largest park in the Rec&Park system (after Sharp Park in Pacifica) and it has rich grassland communities on its higher hills.
The Natural Areas Program manages McLaren’s Significant Natural Resource Areas, and neighborhood volunteers in the form of the Friends of McLaren Park work there monthly. The Yerba Buena Chapter of the California Native Plant Society also includes McLaren in its regular rotation of sites.
Note: Due to the RPD’s decision not to enforce leash laws despite the fact that nearly all dogs on Mt D are off-leash resulting in volunteers being attacked and bitten, the Mt Davidson project’s work parties should be avoided until what point, if any (and that is exceptionally unlikely), that the RPD’s management chooses to rectify this abysmal situation.
Mt Davidson is the highest hill in San Francisco, and the 40 acre parcel preserved in its park is one of the largest and best of our remnant natural areas. Mt Davidson’s habitat restoration workparties with the Natural Areas Program are official activities of the San Francisco Group of the Sierra Club.
Mt Sutro is heavily forested hill west of Twin Peaks. Owned now by the University of California San Francisco for management of the area, it is named for Adolph Sutro who planted the hill with blue-gum eucalyptus, Monterey pine, and Monterey cypress circa 1890.
The Oak Woodlands in Golden Gate Park are the remnants of the only “forested” area originally within the 49 square miles of San Francisco. These coastal live oaks grow in sheltered ravine areas and, remarkably, were left intact when Golden Gate Park was created by removing all the native dune plant communities and planting non-native grasses and ornamental plants.
The chief management challenges in this project include coping with the dominant understory weeds — English ivy, cape ivy, blackberry, and ehrharta grass. The other problem that the Oak Woodlands project faces to a greater degree than any other remnant natural area in the City is the ever-present contingent of homeless and their encampments. Here is the management plan.
Twin Peaks is the second highest hill in San Francisco, after Mt Davidson. It has fantastic areas of grasslands and coastal scrub that support lots of important and rare critters, including the endangered mission blue butterfly. Along with Mt D, Twin Peaks has extensive coverage of Pacific reed grass, Calamagrostic nutkaensis.
Twin Peaks consists of a patchwork of jurisdictional fiefdoms belonging to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the Rec&Park Department. The Natural Areas Program manages the Significant Natural Resource Areas within the RPD holdings.