In the spring and summer of 2012, Golden Gate National Recreation Area engaged the southeastern neighborhoods of San Francisco through a series of activities designed to increase knowledge of the park’s resources and the health benefits of in-park experiences to communities who don’t traditionally visit the park.
With the support of an America’s Best Idea grant, the park partnered with a local health center and elementary school to bring two groups of local residents to the park on two separate occasions. At the 6th annual Earth Stroll event, visitors were greeted by an NPS ranger, provided with a healthy lunch at Crissy Field, and participated in fun activities and games such as a “Park Pursuit” scavenger hunt. Recognizing that bringing the parks to people is equally as important as bring people to the parks, Golden Gate staff also hosted an event in the local neighborhood to share information about how to access park sites through public transportation, biking or walking.
Although Golden Gate National Recreation Area and events such as Earth Stroll are open to everyone, nearby communities do not usually attend due to transportation barriers and lack of familiarity with the park. NPS rangers reported that, “Transportation is a key concern for many community and school groups that would like to visit the Golden Gate National Parks more often. By sharing information about public transit routes and by subsidizing buses to bring groups to specific events, we were able to overcome this barrier for these specific programs.”
Park staff also noted that, “By engaging new audiences, particularly youth and families, in culturally relevant, free, and enjoyable park activities, the parks have the potential to gain new park enthusiasts and lifelong advocates.”