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Archive for the ‘Parks’ Category

Apr-7-2014

Photo: Mountain Lake morning

11:38 am | Posted under Parks, Photos | 3 comments
Mar-27-2014

Local links: Pho closing, Saturday events, Farmer’s Market extended & more


Even the dogs can’t help smiling at Lands End. Photo by Jonathan Fleming

While you’re trying to fathom the litany of charges in State Senator Yee’s indictment, take a moment to check out these less threatening local links:

  • No mo’ pho: Reader Chet informed us that Pho Garden (2109 Clement), home of the infamous (and nausea inducing) Pho challenge, has closed. A call to their business phone number ends in a disconnected message.
  • Looks like Clement Street’s Barley Cafe has met the same fate. Eater SF reports that after only six months, Barley (343 Clement) has called it quits. The cafe has been locked up for the past couple of weeks and a phone call goes straight to voicemail.
  • Good news for fans of the Clement Street Farmer’s Market – The market’s life has been extended for another year until June 2015. The market will also add another block beginning April 6th, so it will run from Arguello Street to 4th Avenue every Sunday from 9am until 2pm.
  • Want to help your neighbors and community in a time of crisis? Enroll in a free NERT (SFFD Neighborhood Emergency Response Team) course on Wednesday June 11, 2014 from 6:30pm-8:30pm at the Richmond Branch Library. Learn skills to be prepared for emergencies big or small, and get to know your neighbors on your block to maximize resiliency after a disaster. Register online – it’s free!
  • A skateboard park at Ocean Beach? Radical, dude. It could happen if the San Francisco Skateboarding Association‘s vision comes to live. They were behind the successful Balboa Skate Park and have set their sights on Ocean Beach. Rec & Park is into it. Might not be Playland but sounds like a fun idea! [CurbedSF]
  • Fredy’s Deli near Ocean Beach has a new owner and a new lease on life. The Ocean Bulletin profiled new owners David “Kawika” Nottage and his wife, Joanne who are “trying to keep the best parts of what made Fredy’s Ocean Beach Deli a neighborhood favorite, while introducing some additions such as gluten-free menu items and an expanded selection of wine.”

FREE EVENTS THIS SATURDAY, MARCH 29

  • Got veggies? Master Gardener Jonathan Propp will be at the Richmond District Branch Library this Saturday from 2-3:30pm to lead a free course on how to grow vegetables in your SF backyard. His presentation will cover selection of climate-appropriate varieties, soil and bed preparation, propagation and planting techniques, and plant maintenance.
  • Walk among the flowers: Wildflowers have started to bloom all over our parks including Lands End. The Parks Conservancy leads free walks every Saturday from noon until 1pm through May 31, including a special Mother’s Day walk on May 10. Info & registration here
  • This Saturday, Supervisor Eric Mar is sponsoring a Richmond District Housing Rights Town Hall from 2 to 4pm at the Richmond Recreation Center (251 18th Avenue). Learn about your rights and obligations as San Francisco tenants and landlords, hear from experts and get your questions answered.
9:25 am | Posted under Classes, Eric Mar, Events, Food, Ocean Beach, Parks, Volunteer | 28 comments
Mar-24-2014

Neighbors, volunteers and Rec & Park clean up Park Presidio greenway


USF students helped clean and plant along the Park Presidio greenway on March 22. Photo by phoca2004

This past Saturday, SF Recreation and Parks held a planting day on the 500 block of 14th Avenue, between Anza and Balboa. The planting event put in new trees and shrubs along the Park Presidio greenway meant to help repopulate the barrier on the side that faces the roadway.

Nearby residents of the greenway, Rec & Park staff, as well as students from the University of San Francisco’s Psychology Department and the Student Conservation Association came out to help with the planting.

The greenway along Park Presidio Boulevard has long been a source of frustration for residents due to its neglect. Historically, the greenway becomes overgrown due to lack of maintenance, making it an ideal hiding place for unauthorized camping and loitering.

However in the past six months, SF Recreation & Parks has put more effort into clearing out the pathways of the park. Just this past Friday, a large section of the greenbelt on the 600 block of 14th Avenue was finally cleared out.

The clearouts help eliminate many of the nooks and crannies where campers frequent, and for the first time in many years, neighbors along the greenbelt feel more safe and secure about their park.

“This is the most optimistic I’ve felt about our neighborhood in a long time. Thanks to all!” wrote one member of an online group of Park Presidio Boulevard neighbors.

The goal is to have a clear path along the middle of the parkways from Fulton all the way to Lake Street.

Special thanks to all the volunteers that came out to help with the planting, and to the neighbors along the greenway who often volunteer their own time to care for the park. It’s looking great!

Sarah B.


L: A pathway on the 600 block of 14th Avenue in the midst of clearing. R: What the finished, cleared path looks like after work is done. Photos by Kay Voyvodich


High school students from the Student Conservation Association helped clean
and plant along the Park Presidio greenway on March 22. Photo by phoca2004


Student volunteers from the USF Psychology program. Photo by phoca2004


Jon and Bennie from SF Rec & Park help replant the Park Presidio greenway. Photo by phoca2004

5:02 am | Posted under Community, Parks, Volunteer | 10 comments
Mar-21-2014

Photos: Check out these beastly fish being pulled out of Mountain Lake


Photo by Jonathan Young

The Presidio Trust has spent millions to remediate Mountain Lake, removing contaminated sediment from the lake bottom and restoring the native species and plants to the areas around the lake.

A big part of that effort has been removing non-native species from the lake itself, in anticipation of returning native species to it like three-spined stickleback fish and Pacific chorus frogs.

One Presidio Trust intern is still on the hunt for non-native fish, and this week he shared some unsettlingly monstrous photos of what he’s been fishing out of the lake with baynature.org.

Jonathan Young is a San Francisco State graduate student in biology and ecological restoration intern at the Presidio Trust. He’s armed with fishing equipment and a small inflatable boat/raft and sent out into the lake to catch what he can.

The results are pretty surprising and include giant carp and oversized sturgeon fish. Not what you’d expect to come from a neighborhood lake in San Francisco.

Carp, bass, and mosquitofish are the main offenders, and Young has already fished 20 large carp out of the lake. One carp can lay two million eggs in a season, so imagine how many more are swimming around in there.

So where did these non-native fish come from? From nearby residents who dumped their aquarium fish or intentional releases back when fishing was allowed on the lake.

“It makes me freaked out every time I step in there in waders by myself, like something’s going to suck me down,” Young said. Jeez, no kidding!

And before you start lamenting for the demise of these scaly beasts, there’s no need. They are lovingly relocated to small ponds in the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma to live out their lives.

See more pics and get the full story at baynature.org

God bless interns.

Sarah B.


Photo by Jonathan Young

2:35 pm | Posted under Parks | 12 comments
Mar-12-2014

Local links: Spring break options, Alexandria for sale?, RV parking bans & more


Ocean Beach, March 11, 2014

Here are some local links to get you through your Wednesday:

  • The venerable Green Apple Books has been named one of five finalists for Publishers Weekly’s Bookstore of the Year Award. We’ll have to wait until May when the winner will be announced at BookExpo America. Good luck Green Apple!
  • The Mountain Lake remediation project is winding down, but landscaping work is still going on including an effort to return part of the park to a wetland thanks to some goats and volunteers. “We’re returning the lake’s arm into the haven it once was for generations of wildlife going back long before the 1800s,” said Terri Thomas, the Presidio’s conservation director. Read the full article on SFGate
  • We’ve heard a rumor that the Alexandria Theater property is once again up for sale (anyone find a lising? We have not). That’s nothing really new but it signals that the current owners are not interested in developing the property as it’s been proposed. They want someone to take it off their hands. We’d be ok with that since they’ve done a piss poor job of managing it in the last 10 years.
  • Additional locations for the ban on overnight RV/oversized vehicle parking were approved by the SFMTA last week. That includes stretches of Clement Street along Lincoln Park and the Park Presidio greenbelt streets including Funston Avenue (west side) and 14th Avenue (east side).
  • Want your kid to skate(board) through Spring Break? Rec & Park is offering Shred N Butter skateboard camp at 25th Avenue’s Rochambeau Playground from March 31 through April 4. Camp runs daily from 9am to 3pm, and is designed for ages 7 – 14. Cost is $257 for residents, $370 for non-residents. Sign up here and enter code 34594 to find the listing.

    Alternatively, Shred N Butter also offers Saturday drop-in classes starting March 22 at the Richmond Rec Center on 18th Avenue for ages 5-13; fee is $32. Sign up here and enter code 34595 to find the listing.
  • In other Spring Break news, the RDNC is offering a free Spring Family Staycation outing of hiking and biking in San Rafael on Saturday, April 5th. Space is limited to 25 and spots will fill up fast so contact sarah@rvbeacon.org or 415-750-8554 to register before March 21st.
  • Remember the creepy guy in the Elmo suit that arrived here from NY and made a noisy appearance at Rossi Park in 2012? This time he’s turned up at Fisherman’s Wharf after finishing a stint in jail. “People are being told lies about me,” said Sandler, who is 50 and homeless. “I’m really sick of it. I’m just trying to make a living.”
12:17 pm | Posted under Kids, Parks, Traffic | 19 comments
Mar-3-2014

A peek at the upcoming $26k parklet on Balboa Street


A rendering of the planned parklet on Balboa Street

Simple Pleasures Cafe at 3434 Balboa near 35th Avenue is the latest merchant in the Richmond District to sponsor a parklet, or mini park, in front of their business. On Monday, the cafe posted a rendering of the parklet on their Facebook page.

Construction began about two weeks ago but was slowed by the recent rains. Scott, a spokesperson for Simple Pleasures, said they expect the parklet to be open in about 15 days (weather permitting).

The Simple Pleasures parklet will eliminate 3 parking spaces on the block, and is the first one in the city to be built on a 1.5 degree incline. Materials include wood and concrete, and the estimated budget for the parklet is $26,000.

“It’s one of the most expensive built yet in San Francisco,” Scott said.

Parklets typically consist of seating and some greenery, and though they are usually subsidized and cared for by a specific business, the parklet space is considered public.

Parklets are part of the San Francisco Planning Department’s Pavement to Parks initiative, designed to “temporarily reclaim unused swathes of land and quickly and inexpensively turn them into new public spaces”.

This will be the second parklet in the Richmond District. The first one debuted on Clement Street near 3rd Avenue in August 2013.

Sarah B.


Construction is underway on the new parklet in front of Simple Pleasures Cafe

2:15 pm | Posted under Business, Parks | 23 comments
Feb-13-2014

Local Links: Balboa is 88, museum news, new BBQ, 20 years of LGBTQ & more


Photo by Daniel Hoherd

We’ve been storing up a lot of great linkage for ya! Enjoy – Sarah B.

  • The Balboa Theater turns 88 this weekend and is celebrating on Sunday with a party and screening of Frank Capra’s 1926 silent film The Strong Man. Festivities begin at 7pm and tickets are $10 (online or at the box office). Happy 88th Balboa!
  • New traffic lights are coming to the intersections of 22nd Avenue & Geary, and 26th Avenue & Geary. In a recent Richmond District Transportation Updates email, Supervisor Eric Mar wrote “Located near a Jackie Chan Senior Center, a middle school, and a church, these lights will provide much-needed safety improvements.”
  • We wrote last week about the Legion of Honor’s link to the new movie Monuments Men. The museum now has on display Anthony Van Dyck’s Portrait of a Lady (ca. 1620), one of the paintings that Monument Man and Legion Director Thomas Howe Carr, Jr. discovered with the platoon in WWII. The painting was returned to its rightful owner and then passed through various other hands before being donated to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco by Roscoe and Margaret Oakes in the mid-1970s, just a few years after Howe retired.
  • In other museum news, the new Modern Nature: Georgia O’Keeffe and Lake George exhibition opens at the de Young this Saturday. “From 1918 until the early 1930s, O’Keeffe retreated regularly to Alfred Stieglitz’s family estate on Lake George in upstate New York, where she reveled in the discovery of new subject matter and found respite in the rural setting without the distractions of city life.”
  • Ireland’s 32 will soon expand their offering to include bites from Baby Blues BBQ. The Geary Street bar is currently renovating their kitchen and Baby Blues plans to take over on Saturday March 1st. Menu items include the Badass Burger (blue cheese, two onions, and applewood-smoked bacon ground into the patty), a “rib tickler” (three smoked pork ribs over coleslaw), grilled shrimp over grits topped with rémoulade and much more. [Tablehopper]
  • Muriel Leff mini-park on 7th Avenue just off Geary is hosting a volunteer day on Saturday, February 22 for cleanup and beautification. The park was San Francisco’s first pocket park, established in the former police horse paddock for the Richmond Police Station. The workday runs from 10am until 1pm; lunch and light refreshments provided for those who RSVP to recparkvolunteer@sfgov.org.
  • This Sunday marks the 20th anniversary of Pine United Methodist Church (426 – 33rd Avenue) opening its doors to the LGBTQ community, the first API church to take this historic step. The church is holding a celebration with potluck lunch, music, sharing, community building, and justice-making starting at 1:30pm. The event is free, but please bring a dish to share.
  • The RDNC is offering free nutritious cooking classes for parents and kids focused on “Cooking with the Five Flavors”. Remaining classes are February 20th – Bitter, March 27th – Salty, April 10th – Sweet, and May 15th – Sour. Classes begin at 6pm and are FREE and open to everyone. To reserve a spot email sarah@rvbeacon.org or call 415-750-8554.
  • The new Yoga Tree on 6th Avenue is hosting a Community Party and Opening Reception this Saturday from 2pm to 4pm. All the details here
5:05 am | Posted under Events, Food, Museums, Parks, Traffic | 4 comments
Jan-30-2014

Remediation complete at Mountain Lake; Planting day February 8

Since last spring, Mountain Lake has looked a lot like a construction site as dredging equipment has sat on the surface, methodically removing sediment contaminated with lead and motor oil from the bottom of the lake.

In late 2011, a $13.5 million settlement was reached between the Presidio Trust and CALTRANS for cleanup of contaminated sediments that have run into Mountain Lake off of the Park Presidio roadway. The runoff has been occurring since the roadway opened 70 years ago.

The first phase of the project involved making adjustments to the roadway to avoid future runoff, including the installation of 400 stone columns into the ground along the northbound shoulder of the roadway west of Mountain Lake. Treatment devices were also installed in storm drains along the highway to prevent contaminants from entering the lake in the future.

Another part of the project involved removing all non-native species from the lake, including fish and turtles. All of the captured wildlife, including 42 red-eared slider turtles (photos), were taken to Sonoma County Reptile Rescue where they were relocated with breeders, pet stores, herpetological societies and local citizens.


One of the red-eared slider turtles that was removed from the lake and relocated

Dredging then got underway in Spring 2013. The dredged sediment from the bottom of the lake was transported via pipeline to a staging area north of the lake where it was dewatered and then pumped back into the lake. The dried, contaminated sediment was transported offsite and disposed of in a permitted, offsite landfill.

The last truckload of sediment left Mountain Lake in December, and all of the dredging equipment was removed from the lake. The remediation equipment in the staging area will also be removed soon, officially completing the remediation portion of the Mountain Lake project.


Crews plant new trees along the Park Presidio roadway in May 2013.
In the background, dredging barges can be seen on the lake. Photo: Presidio Trust

Up next is the beginning of the restoration phase, which is expected to last nearly three years. During that time, Biological Science Technician Jason Lisenby says they “will plant thousands and thousands of local plants into the newly cleaned-up areas.”

Planting will also take place in the lake itself, to ready it for the return of fish and act as a food source for wildlife:

Planting into Mountain Lake is expected to begin in March, and the first priority, Laskowski said, will be to introduce three of the lake’s most important plants: sago pondweed (Stuckenia pectinata), coontails (Ceratophyllum demersum) and water nymphs (Najas guadalupensis).

Those plants will play many roles, Young and Laskowski said. They will form a leafy canopy to shield microorganisms on the bottom from sunlight and provide a source of food for the lake’s dabbling ducks, as well as for the rare Western pond turtles that are being raised at the two zoos until they can be moved to the lake.

Once the plants are thriving, Young’s team will introduce hundreds of fish called three-spined sticklebacks, (Gasterosteus aculeates), a 2-inch species with a crucial role in the lake’s ecology. [SFGate]

CELEBRATION & VOLUNTEER PLANTING ON FEBRUARY 8
Next Saturday, the Presidio Trust will host a celebration of the end of the remediation phase that includes a volunteer planting day. Volunteer opportunities will run from 9am to 12noon, followed by guided walks and a talk about future plans for Mountain Lake by Michael Boland, Chief Planning, Projects & Programs Officer for the Presidio Trust.

This is an auspicious rebirth for Mountain Lake, which scientists estimate is 1,700 years old, and one of the few remaining natural lakes in San Francisco (the others are Lake Merced, Pine Lake west of Stern Grove and the semi-natural Chain of Lakes in Golden Gate Park).

The lake was also a valuable source of drinking water for the Ohlone Indians and for early European settlers like Juan Bautista de Anza, who camped along its shores in 1776.

For more information on the Mountain Lake remediation and enhancement project, visit the project website.

Sarah B.


A view of Mountain Lake from 1899, looking west from the south shore (the side where Mountain Lake Park is today). The buildings in the background are the historic Marine Hospital, where the Presidio Landmark apartments are today. Photo: Presidio Trust

9:35 am | Posted under History, Parks | 13 comments
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