To thrive as a community, people need public places to connect with nature, understand our shared history, and reflect on our common human experience.
From Military Base to National Park
For Bay Area natives and visitors alike, the Presidio offers hiking, biking and camping; nature walks and historic buildings; and stunning views of San Francisco, the Pacific Ocean, the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a nexus of community, history and ecology just blocks from the city’s bustle where anyone can go for recreation, learning, or just to reconnect with the natural world.
The Haas, Jr. Fund believes in helping this park be more accessible for everyone in our diverse city to share, including youth and families in underserved communities. The revitalization of the Presidio into a national park became a priority for the Fund in 2007 with a $15 million lead grant to the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.
The 1,500 acre park wasn’t always a public space. Just a few decades ago the Presidio was an active military post, one of the oldest in the nation. But in 1994 the military post was closed and turned over to fulfill a public purpose, thanks in large part to passionate advocates who were determined to preserve this historic and ecological treasure, and its transformation began.
In 2013, the Presidio Trust, the federal agency who is charged with managing the Presidio, reached a significant milestone: it became financially self-sufficient, as mandated by Congress. With this achievement, the park is poised to welcome and engage more of the public as it fully embraces its mission as a national park.
A Great Public Space—For All
The Haas, Jr. Fund’s gifts helped create a 24-mile network of walking, hiking and biking trails that span the park. You can plan a daylong circuit up to the Golden Gate Bridge, or just wander, taking in the towering trees, the flowers and wildlife, and the fresh air.
The Fund’s gift also supported the expansion of Rob Hill Campground—the only campground in San Francisco. The four group campsites and “Great Room” educational building are the home of the Camping at the Presidio program, providing outdoor experiences for thousands of children who might not otherwise have the opportunity.
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.Wally Haas, Haas, Jr. Fund Board Chair
“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. “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.”
Also part of the Presidio, the Haas, Jr. Fund has helped restore Crissy Field into a well-used and well-loved park with legendary views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco cityscape.
The Haas, Jr. Fund’s philanthropy in the Golden Gate National Parks totals more than $30 million, making it the largest cumulative cash contribution received by America’s National Parks. For more information visit the Presidio Trust website.