Revamp of Golden Gate Park's Oak Woodlands to debut tomorrow

Tomorrow, February 22, the SF Recreation & Parks Department will debut a revamp of Golden Gate Park's Oak Woodlands — a project that's been years in the making. 

Hemmed by Fulton and Stanyan streets, Sixth Avenue and Conservatory Drive in the northeast quadrant of the park, the Oak Woodlands are home to some of the oldest live oaks in the city, part of a forest that predates the construction of Golden Gate Park in the 1870s.

While much of the park is now landscaped with lawns and flower beds, the Oak Woodlands have remained wild — and as a result, were dotted with myriad redundant trails carved by generations of wandering pedestrians. 

Newly planted native species cover a large part of the upgraded area. | Photo: Camden Avery/Hoodline

Last June, Rec & Park kicked off a project to create a single trail through the woodlands, connecting points of interest like the overlook near Stanyan and Hayes streets, the Horseshoe Pits, the hillside near the green waste transfer area, the overlook at Arguello, and Coon Hollow. 

"It's one trail that can be used by both" cyclists and pedestrians, said Rec & Park spokesperson Tamara Aparton, though there's a dedicated pedestrian section near the Arguello overlook.

The project also updated the trail's signage, added plants and retaining walls to prevent erosion, and removed some invasive plant species, replacing them with native ones. 

A view of the updated trail. | Image: SF Rec & Park

The new trail will be known as the Phil Arnold Trail. Arnold, a career civil servant, is a longtime advocate for parks and open spaces in the Bay Area, and was also part of the effort to create the Bay Ridge Trail, which connects Oak Woodlands with Twin Peaks and Mount Sutro.

The trail's dedication and reopening ceremony will be held tomorrow at 10 a.m., followed by a guided tour. 

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