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Project: The Presidio of San Francisco
From Army Base to Urban Park
First occupied by U.S. military forces in 1846, the Presidio of San Francisco has a long history as a U.S. Army installation. For example, the Army’s first permanent hospital was located at the Presidio, and in the 1950’s the Presidio served as the headquarters for Nike missile defense located around the Golden Gate. In 1962 the Presidio was designated as a National Historic Landmark, and in 1972 legislation slated that the Presidio would become part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area if and when the military no longer needed the property.
Arc Ecology was asked by members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1987 to look into rumors of toxic environmental contamination at the Presidio. The following year, Arc Ecology brought the Presidio’s environmental contamination to light. Arc Ecology held the first city-wide community meeting on the future of the base in 1989, when the Presidio was designated for closure by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. Through the cleanup and transfer process, Arc Ecology provided technical and political support as well as political advocacy and organizing training for Presidio Restoration Advisory Board members in support of the creation of the Presidio as the first urban national park in the United States.
The U.S. Army officially departed from the Presidio in 1994, and the property was transferred to the National Park Service. The Presidio is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the world’s largest national park in an urban setting, and is managed by the Presidio Trust in partnership with the National Park Service.
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