$2.4 Million Project Aims to Make Park More Accessible
Story and photos by Thomas K. Pendergast
In the northeast corner of Golden Gate Park there are about three miles of trails winding through the trees and shrubs on almost 23 acres of land, collectively known as the Oak Woodlands trails.
When Robert Bakewell and others in the group Friends of the Oak Woodlands first started paying special attention to this area in the ’90s, he described it as neglected, overgrown with ivy and blackberry plants and hiding many small homeless encampments, which were tucked away in little clearings behind thick foliage.
Most of the native Coast Live Oak trees were buried under all that and struggled to compete with invasive plants.
“All of this was overgrown with 10-to-15-foot-tall invasive shrubbery and weeds,” Bakewell said, pointing to an area a short walk from the Sixth Avenue entrance to the park at Fulton Street.
“So, they started stripping the ivy off the trees and restoring it to what it looked like, most likely, back in the 1800s when the park was first envisioned.
“The trees were being stunted and killed off by the ivy, by the undergrowth, by the camping, cutting and burning,” he said. “It was inaccessible to the public because of the public safety issues. There was no access. There was no trail. That’s why we started.”