It's hard to believe that airplanes once landed where native grass now grows on Crissy Field's historic airfield—or that piles of concrete and asphalt once covered the 18-acre tidal marsh that is now a respite for egrets and blue herons. The transformation of Crissy Field from a former military base with just 30 acres of usable space to a 100-acre urban national park showcases more than a stunning vista of the Golden Gate Bridge. At its heart, the Crissy Field story is about a community coming together to create a park for all people.
It started in 1986 with a planning grant from the Haas, Jr. Fund. Over the course of the restoration, construction crews removed thousands of tons of rubble, and the community donated its time and more than $34.5 million. The Crissy Field Center was created as a place where people from throughout the Bay Area would be able to connect to the park. Crissy Field now attracts more visitors than any other park in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Pledged in 1997, a lead grant of $18 million ($13.5 million from the Haas, Jr. Fund and $4.5 million from Colleen and Robert Haas) was the largest cash gift in National Park Service history at that time. The Fund made another grant of $1.5 million in 2007 and continues to work closely with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the National Park Service to make Crissy Field accessible to the whole community.