The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department today unveiled its new main trail through the Oak Woodlands of Golden Gate Park, dedicating the scenic path to Phil Arnold, a longtime advocate for local parks, open space, and recreational trail opportunities.
The Phil Arnold trail provides a primary, continuous nature trail with wayfinding and interpretive signs for pedestrians and bicyclists. It begins at the intersection of JFK Drive and Conservatory Drive East, just west of McLaren Lodge and continuing over knolls, past the horseshoe courts, crossing Arguello Boulevard and ending at 6th Avenue. It is part of the newly-finished Golden Gate Park Oak Woodlands Trail Improvement Project, funded by the 2012 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond as well as a private grant and state Habitat Conservation Fund grant. Construction began in June 2018 and included repair of existing trails in the area, erosion control and restoration of native plants. At just under a mile, the Phil Arnold Trail adds to the approximately 30 miles of nature trails in the SF Rec and Parks system.
Arnold, chair of the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council Board and 33-year city employee, provided instrumental support for the realignment of the Bay Ridge Trail that connects Twin Peaks, Mount Sutro, and the Oak Woodlands. He worked for the Recreation and Park Department from 1986 to 1997, and later for the City’s Human Services Agency. He has served on the San Francisco Housing Authority Commission since 2013, the San Francisco Parks Alliance Board of Directors since 2011, and as a member of the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council Board of Directors since 2005. He became board chair in 2016.
“Phil Arnold wore many hats in his service to the City, but his ability to inspire, lead, and work hard on projects benefitting our entire community remains constant,” said Recreation and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg.
The Oak Woodlands is a remnant forest located in the northeast corner of Golden Gate Park along Fulton Avenue between Stanyan Street and 6th Avenue. The area is home to some of the oldest coast live oak trees in San Francisco and was added to the Old Growth Forest Network in 2015. It provides significant wildlife habitat.
Robert Bakewell, who leads the Friends of Oak Woodlands group, said the opening of the trail is the result of many years of volunteer efforts.
“The community of advocates and volunteers, now represented by Friends of Oak Woodlands, have for 25 years been working to restore and steward this natural area in northeast Golden Gate Park,” Bakewell said. “We join in celebrating the Phil Arnold Trail, and commit to continuing stewardship with Rec and Parks’ Natural Resources Division.”
The San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission approved the naming in October 2018.