Park Service considering overnight program for outdoor education company at Fort Miley

The PLI ropes course at Fort Miley near Land’s End

For over 30 years now, the Pacific Leadership Institute has operated a ropes course at Fort Miley. You may have walked or driven by it many times, and not even noticed it tucked into the forest just above the USS SF Memorial parking lot at Land’s End.

The course, built out of trees, with cables, ladders and ropes is designed “for individuals and groups to work together to develop confidence, trust, cooperation and leadership skills through actions”, according to the institute’s website.

In addition to hosting adults and youth for half and full day programs, the course also hosts Community Open Days on the first Sunday of every month from 1pm to 4pm.

The Pacific Leadership Institute now wants to expand by piloting an overnight program in another area of Fort Miley. The proposed pilot would use a small grassy area at West Fort Miley to stage tents, prepare food, utilize a portable fire pit, and stage picnic tables. All items that are used as part of the program would be removed at the end of every overnight.

PLI chose the West Fort Miley site because of its proximity to the ropes course and the minimal infrastructure requirements needed to support the proposed use.

“These overnight opportunities would create more meaningful outdoor experiences and add value to PLI’s goal of changing lives through adventure,” writes PLI in their proposal.

PLI’s proposed pilot program does not open up Fort Miley for public camping, and overnight use would be restricted to participants in the Institute’s program. The proposal stipulates that each overnight would include a maximum of 15-30 campers (2-4 tents) for 1-2 nights at a time, and require mandatory quiet hours from 9:30pm until 6:30am the following morning. PLI would be limited to 25 to 35 groups per year, and the pilot would not last more than 2 years.

The NPS is currently inviting the public to review the proposal (PLI Overnight Program_Proposal – Draft CE.pdf) and make comments on their website through April 21.

Sarah B.


  1. This sounds like a good use of that space. My San Francisco Coastwalk group camped there many years ago. The little stretch of lawn was a great spot to camp quietly and watch the sunset, 2 miles of traffic lights changing on the Great Highway, then the sunrise. Only drawback was the VA security guards also patrol West Fort Miley and had no idea from GGNRA we had permission to be there (I guess it was fairly rare for people to camp there legally). Eventually we procured our permit and straightened that out. But the evening guards didn’t communicate with the next shift, so another round of hassles on those early morning restroom trips. Subsequent years Coastwalk camped at Battery Chamberlin (no longer doable) and of course Rob Hill. When we sit around the campfire circle at Rob Hill, we don’t tell ghost stories; we tell scary stories about the OLD Rob Hill campground.

  2. Campgrounds do not belong next to residential areas. A plan for a campground next to a residential area has to be disclosed by the owner of adjacent property who wants to refinance or sell. Independently of the owner, an appraiser will note the existence of such a plan in his appraisal. The mere existence of such a plan will reduce property values in the affected neighborhood, i.e., Seal Rock Drive, by at least 25%.

  3. The other campgrounds in the GGNR host a maximum of FOUR campers per site. The PLI proposes 15-30 campers in a “small grassy area”, 25 – 35 times per year. That’s more than every other weekend – thru the summer I imagine every weekend. How does that make sense for the sustainability of the site itself, or for the neighbors who have to put up with the noise, smoke and activity of the horde of juvenile campers day and night?

  4. It appears the campsite is right below the long-term care building at the VA . I would think the noise and smoke would travel right up into that building I don’t see where that is being addressed .
    Also they mentioned several times that this is just a trial for a three part expansion program. I am mostly concerned about how this would affect the VA.

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