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SF’s Newest Waterfront Park Opens August 25: Black Point Historic Gardens

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Wednesday, August 25, 2021 - All Day | Cost: FREE*
*Open dates/times might change

Black Point Historic Gardens (Fort Mason) | 2 Fort Mason 11, San Francisco, CA 94123

Event Details

Black Point Historic Gardens is the San Francisco Bay Area’s newest national park site, a one-acre hillside that connects San Francisco’s Aquatic Park to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) at Fort Mason.

At Black Point Historic Gardens, an outdoor staircase connects to newly restored pathways, budding gardens and terraced lands, offering unobstructed views of the Bay. Together with the National Park Service, and with the help of donors, volunteers, and community partners, the Parks Conservancy removed 65 years’ worth of overgrown vegetation, collected and disposed over 2,000 pounds of trash, and replanted 8,000 native plants.

Since the 1850s, walkways, stairs, and gardens have led from bluff top residences to the waterfront. August 2021 marks the first time this area will be open to the general public. This public, open space is an example of the lasting impact of the dedication of the Parks Conservancy, the National Park Service, donors, volunteers and valued community partners.

SF’s “Black Point Historic Gardens” Waterfront Park Opens
Opens August 25, 2021 – Official events during the day, best for public in late afternoon or early evening
Entrance – sidewalk just past the General’s Residence in Fort Mason

Please note that it’s unclear if the gardens are open only from 6am until 1 hour after sunset, or open 24 hours. There is conflicting information on the NPS website that we’ll try to clarify. Regardless, most parking lots are open only between sunrise to sunset.

Want to volunteer? Join others to help volunteer at Black Point Historic Gardens with the National Parks Conservancy

Once the 1-acre park and terraced native gardens opens, you’ll be able to access it by walking from Fort Mason, just north of the General’s Residence, or from the northern tip of Van Ness near the Aquatic Park Pier.

The park includes great views of Aquatic Park and Alcatraz including viewpoints that have been fenced off for more than 50 years. SF Gate reports that once opened, the park will be lit and open 24 hours a day.

Here’s the full details from Beatrice Kilate of Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

Black Point Historic Gardens, a new park connecting Fort Mason to the San Francisco waterfront, opens to the public soon. The restoration of the sunny, terraced hillside behind the General’s Residence ushers in a new era in the parks, while uncovering and honoring the history that came before it.

Facing the sunrise on a terraced hillside behind the General’s Residence at Fort Mason, Black Point Historic Gardens looks out on San Francisco’s Aquatic Park and the San Francisco Bay. This historic piece of land is just under one acre but manages to connect and open up the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) to the city.

To enter this quiet space is to time travel through at least seven eras, from pre-colonial Ohlone, Spanish, Mexican and American military eras, to the Gold Rush, the early days of San Francisco, and into the 1970s with the establishment of the GGNRA. The hillside grew wild for decades, fenced off until 2017 when, with the help of the Parks Conservancy, the National Park Service, and a robust team of volunteers, the process of restoring the gardens and its walkways, stairs, and terraces began.

Tended to by the same team that maintains and cares for the historic Alcatraz Gardens, Black Point’s restoration represents an opportunity to honor the history of the land while creating new opportunities for community stewardship, connection, and science. Over the years, Parks Conservancy team members and volunteers have pulled back overgrowth and cleared weeds to reveal surviving native and ornamental plants, like Chasmanthe floribunda, Eucalyptus globulus, and the Rosa hybrid, a miniature rose. Shelagh Fritz and Natalie Korengold, Garden Program Managers, continue to identify and monitor these plants, designing plans for gardens on the hillside that are both beautiful and useful for local and visiting walkers and pollinators alike.

Now, in the coming months and through the years when the seeds germinate and the hillside begins to bloom, the team will have the opportunity to study the different types of insects and wildlife that are able to thrive in an urban environment.

Sheltered from the wind and with access to the waterfront, it’s easy to see why early San Francisco residents chose to develop gardens and pathways on this hillside in the 1850s. From the northernmost part of Van Ness Avenue, near Aquatic Park Pier, you can climb the main staircase and make your way up the original, restored pathways, crisscrossing from the mid-hillside up to the perimeter walkway or up a separate set of stairs on the north side of the terrace. Pause and peer across the water at striking views of the city and the Bay and wonder at all the other people who have passed through this very spot—and the ones who will pass through after you. There’s history underfoot in the gardens: come make your way.

Disclaimer: Please double check event information with the event organizer as events can be canceled, details can change after they are added to our calendar, and errors do occur.

Cost: FREE*
*Open dates/times might change
Categories: *Top Pick*, In Person, Outdoors
Venue: Black Point Historic Gardens (Fort Mason)
Address: 2 Fort Mason 11, San Francisco, CA 94123