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Archive for the ‘Parks’ Category


Beach at Mountain Lake closed due to algae bloom; steer clear of water

This week, the Presidio Trust closed off access to the small beach at Mountain Lake due to an occurrence of Blue-Green algae (Microscystis aeruginosa) in the lake, which has the potential to have adverse effects on human and animal health.

The full statement on the closure is below, sent out by Michael Boland, Chief of Planning, Park Projects, and Programs for the Presidio Trust.

In the meantime, keep your pooches on leash and your kiddos nearby, away from the water in the lake.

Sarah B.


As you may be aware, a large algae bloom is currently occurring in Mountain Lake. Annual summertime algae blooms occur in many water bodies around California and historically at Mountain Lake. Blooms are typically caused by a combination of excess nutrients, warmer temperatures and ample sunlight, and may last several months.

We expected a significant bloom at Mountain Lake this summer due to the recent above average temperatures and the amount of suspended nutrients in the water resulting from the recent dredging of the lake bottom. The current bloom is expected to dissipate in the fall. However we recently identified a type of Blue-Green algae (Microcystis aeruginosa), which has the potential to have adverse effects on human and animal health, in the lake. Out of an abundance of caution and to ensure the safety of park visitors and their pets, we are going to restrict access to the beach until this algae bloom subsides. This morning Trust crews temporarily closed off the access to the Mountain Lake beach, and we will be installing signage by the end of the day. Today we also plan to send an email to the Mountain Lake mailing list to be sure we get the word out broadly.

As you know, we are in the midst of ongoing work on a number of restoration projects at the lake including installation of an aeration system, eradication of invasive fish, replanting of submerged aquatic vegetation, and reintroductions of native plant and animal species. All of these measures will improve the health of the lake and help reduce the likelihood of large algae blooms in the future.

We will keep you informed on the safety of the lake as conditions progress and notify you when the beach is ready to reopen.


4:30 am | Posted under Parks, Pets | Add comments

KQED Forum discusses recent Golden Gate Park vandalism

Broken tree branches caused by a vandal in Golden Gate Park. Photo: Katie Meek, The Chronicle

KQED Forum host Michael Krasny took on the topic of vandalism in Golden Gate Park in this morning’s show. Last week, vandalism was reported in the AIDS Memorial Grove in the park in the form of damage to benches and trees, as well as one report of a city parks department truck getting its windows smashed.

Krasny asked what can be done about it, and he was joined by Marc Massarweh, San Francisco district attorney liaison assigned to work with Richmond Police Station, Captain Simon Silverman of the SFPD Richmond District station, and Phil Ginsburg, General Manager of SF Recreation & Parks Department.

There are a variety of challenges to preventing this kind of behavior including limited police patrols, the sheer size of the park (1,017 acres), and the unpredictable bad behavior of people who are mentally unbalanced.

Captain Simon Silverman asks residents to call police right away if they see something suspicious, such as vandalism or someone who seems suspicious or posing a danger to others.

One caller suggested that drones be used to monitor the park in the evening hours when legally, the park is closed to people and activity.

Massarweh said that only two people have been successfully prosecuted in the past year for vandalism in the park and that “it took a long time to build a case against them”.

Despite the ongoing issue of vandalism in the park, Ginsburg maintained that “we have the best urban park system in the country” but said that we need a “cultural shift so people will regard the park as sacred space”.

In one ironic moment, Krasny describes being in Marx Meadow over the weekend when a completely naked man sauntered through their picnic.

“There were people who were offended and felt that something should be done because children were there,” Krasny said.

Listen to the full audio of the Forum broadcast below:

Sarah B.

Tree vandalism continues in Golden Gate Park, saplings are latest targets
Who’s killing the trees in Golden Gate Park?

1:32 pm | Posted under Parks | 5 comments

Mountain Lake Park playground renovation nears its fundraising goal

A rendering of the new playground, as viewed from the Mountain Lake entrance

Last November, we told you about the project that is underway for a much needed renovation of the playground at Mountain Lake Park.

The planned renovation will feature brand new structures and separate play areas for preschool and school age children. The new playground will also have additional seating, expanded picnic and parents’ areas, and enhanced lake views. For improved safety and accessibility there will be limited entry points, smooth surfaces throughout, and improved sight lines for watching multiple children.

The playground was last renovated in the early 1980’s, and is well overdue for an upgrade. The $3.1 million cost for the playground renovation is primarily covered by a 2012 bond measure, but a small group of neighborhood Moms undertook the task of raising the remaining funds.

“It’s critical that we raise $750,000 by May of next year,” Claire Myers told us last November, who teamed up with friends and fellow moms Jen Fetner and Kate Green to create the Friends of Mountain Lake Park Playground to lead the renovation effort.

A rendering of the new playground, as viewed from the 12th Avenue entrance

Fast forward to today and the group has some exciting news to share.

“Supervisor Mark Farrell successfully helped to secure an additional $250,000 in funding from the City for the playground renovation recently. This additional funding, as well as our very successful fundraising campaign this past spring, means that we only have the last $150,000 to raise to make our new playground a reality,” Myers told us in an email.

Now, Myers said, they’re on a final push to raise the remaining $150,000 which needs to be in place for construction to begin this Fall. If everything stays on schedule, kids will be playing on a new Mountain Lake Park playground in Fall 2015.

The FMLPP is now turning to the community (that’s you, readers!) to help them reach their goal. Donations are tax-deductible and can be sent in online through the Parks Alliance website, or by sending a check to:

San Francisco Parks Alliance*
P.O. Box 170160
San Francisco, CA 94117-0160
*In the memo line of your check, please write “Friends of Mountain Lake Park Playground”

Any amount is appreciated – even $20 makes a difference – and donations at the $1,000 level or higher are eligible for recognition in the new playground via pavers, park benches and more. Merchants and businesses are also welcome donors.

To find out more about the Mountain Lake Park playground renovation, visit the FMLPP website or email info@flmpp.org.

Sarah B.

A rendering and examples of the structures in the pre-school side of the new playground. Click to enlarge

A rendering and examples of the structures in the school-age side of the new playground. Click to enlarge

4:30 am | Posted under Parks | 3 comments

Saturday family movie nights at Cabrillo Playground; starts Aug. 9

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since Cabrillo Playground re-opened after a $4.5 million remodel. Beginning this Saturday night, the playground will host three movie nights for families.

The lineup is as follows:

August 9: Toy Story
September 6: Finding Nemo
October 11: The Incredibles

Movies are free and will be shown inside the Cabrillo Playground Clubhouse, located at 851 38th Avenue. Doors open at 5:30pm and the shows begin at 6pm. All children MUST be accompanied and SUPERVISED by an adult at all times.

Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets, pillows & sleeping bags to get comfy; PJ attire is optional.

The kitchen will also be available to attendees if they want to prepare snacks or meals.

Sarah B.

5:12 am | Posted under Events, Kids, Parks | 4 comments

Saturdays are for Blue Herons in GGP & Science programs at Mt. Lake

A couple of nature programs came into our inbox recently…

We’re currently in the midst of the Great Blue Heron Watch at Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. Great Blue Herons have been nesting at Stow Lake since 1993, and it’s a great opportunity to come out and watch them with their chicks.

San Francisco Nature Education is in their 22nd year of leading Heron Watch walks every Saturday through May 17th. Naturalists and interns are also stationed at an observation site with spotting scopes, ready to offer spectacular views into the Great Blue Heron nests and answer questions.

Every Saturday, the free observation site is open from 10am until 1pm. Walks run from 10:30am until 12noon and allow you to observe chicks and other nesting birds from various spots around the Lake and Strawberry Island with a naturalist. The ticket price for the walk is $10, children are free. Meet at the observation site for the tour.

On the second Saturday of every month from May 10 until October 11, 2014, the Presidio Trust is sponsoring Science Saturdays, where scientists talk about topics relating to Mountain Lake and its ecological restoration. Hear researchers from a variety of disciplines talk on topics ranging from Archaeology to Zooplankton.

The free programs run from 2pm until 3pm and meet at the lake’s edge just below the playground (entrance at 12th Avenue and Lake Street). The schedule of talks is as follows:

May 10: Reintroducing Submerged Aquatic Vegetation to Mountain Lake and the greater Bay Area
Kathy Boyer, Associate Professor of Biology, San Francisco State University

June 14: Native Fish: Restoring the Three-spined Stickleback to Mountain Lake
Darren Fong, Aquatic Ecologist, Golden Gate National Recreation Area

July 12: The History and Archaeology of Mountain Lake
Kari Jones, Archaeologist, Presidio Trust

August 9: Reintroducing the Western Pond Turtle to Mountain Lake
Nick Geist, Professor of Biology, Sonoma State University

September 13: Soils of Mountain Lake
Stephen Andrews, Soil Scientist and Lecturer, UC Berkeley

October 11: Butterflies of Mountain Lake and beyond
Liam O’Brien, Lepidopterist

5:05 am | Posted under Events, Golden Gate Park, Parks, Wildlife | Add comments

New parklet opens outside Simple Pleasures on outer Balboa

The Richmond District’s second parklet opened on Saturday in front of Simple Pleasures Cafe at 3434 Balboa near 35th Avenue. The budget for the parklet was $26,000, one of the most expensive in the city to date.

Unlike most city parklets, this one is spacious. Because the parking on that block of Balboa is slanted, the parklet is much deeper than a typical one. It took over 3 parking spaces in total.

Designed by San Francisco’s Step 3 Studio, the parklet is well constructed with heavy, stained wood benches and planters, and tile flooring.

The parklet was paid for by Simple Pleasures Cafe but the space is considered public, and open to anyone to use at anytime. 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”.

Next up is a parklet outside Cinderella Bakery on Balboa near 6th Avenue. No word yet on when though.

Sarah B.

5:02 am | Posted under Business, Parks | 24 comments

Photo: Mountain Lake morning

11:38 am | Posted under Parks, Photos | 3 comments

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.”


  • 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 | 29 comments