The Presidio, with nearly 1,500 acres along San Francisco’s headlands and shoreline, is the heart of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. A former military post, it was transferred to the National Park Service in 1994. The Haas, Jr. Fund made a $15 million gift to the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in 2006 to transform the Presidio into a great national park for all.
The Haas, Jr. Fund’s gift to the Presidio focused on expanding access to outdoor experiences for youth, families, and underserved communities. Among the major activities funded by the gift were: the creation and restoration of a comprehensive 24-mile pedestrian, hiking, and bicycle trail network within the Presidio; and the revitalization and expansion of the Presidio’s Rob Hill Campground – the only campground in San Francisco.
The Presidio Trust reopened the Rob Hill Campground in May 2010 after a 20-month renovation. The renovated campground includes four group campsites that can accommodate 30 people each, plus restrooms, a large stone campfire circle, and an indoor “Great Room” for educational programs.
“One of the many passions that my parents shared was creating opportunities for people to enjoy great public spaces and to connect with nature,” said Walter J. Haas, Chair of the Haas, Jr. Fund. “Rob Hill Campground is a tribute to the idea that every single one of us should have the opportunity to camp under the stars, enjoy a s’more cooked over a campfire, and wake up in the woods to the sounds of nature.”
Rob Hill Campground is available to the public for group camping by advance permit. It is also the home of the Camping at the Presidio (CAP) program, funded by the Presidio Trust, to provide camping experiences for thousands of children who might not otherwise have an opportunity to do so.
The Haas, Jr. Fund’s philanthropy in the Golden Gate National Parks totals more than $30 million to date, making it the largest cash contribution ever received for America’s National Parks. In addition to its support for the revitalization of the Presidio, the Fund’s investments helped transform Crissy Field from a former military base with just 30 acres of usable space to a 100-acre urban national park with 1 million visitors each year.
“Visiting a national park can be a transformative experience for young people,” said Greg Moore, Executive Director of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. “The improvements made to the Rob Hill Campground mean we will be able to offer that experience to thousands of Bay Area children who don’t often get the chance to explore, let alone camp in, a national park."
Calvin Louie of Telegraph Hill camped at Rob Hill with a group of young students from North Beach and Chinatown during the pilot phase of the CAP program. “It felt like you were a long way away but you were really in the city,” said Louie, who was 11 at the time and had never camped in San Francisco before. “There wasn’t any civilization. We didn’t have to listen to cars or machines. We got to listen to nature."
For more information about the Presidio and Rob Hill Campground, visit the Presidio Trust website.