Revealed: Golden Gate Park is the Most Valuable Green Space in the World



A recent study, published in the London Evening Standard last week, compared 12 iconic urban parks in the world in terms of the value of the real estate they occupy.  The results:   Golden Gate Park in San Francisco is the most expensive urban green space in the world.   It is worth more than $49 billion.  The study calculated values by multiplying the size of the park by the average apartment value per sq/m in the city.  Central Park in New York, which is smaller than Golden Gate Park, is worth more than $45 billion based on New York property prices.

Obviously the cultural capital enjoyed by these parks outweighs their monetary value.  Let’s hope that doesn’t change!

Source: Revealed: Hyde Park is one of the 12 most valuable green spaces in the world | London Evening Standard

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Coyotes: Beyond the Howl, An Educational Exhibit by Janet Kessler | Coyote Yipps

In the past I’ve written on this blog about coyotes in Golden Gate Park, and Janet Kessler’s wonderful photographs of urban coyotes.   Now I’d like to give a shout-out to an exhibit of her photographs opening this Sunday at the Sausalito Library.  Not to be missed!

In Janet’s own words  .  .  .  .

“Coyotes are social and, except for some transients, live in families. The 28 large 24”x16” zoomed-in snapshots in this exhibit show some of their less-seen behaviors and interactions, as well as their individuality: each coyote looks different, and the differences reach deeper than their fur. Short howling and hunting video clips are included. An explanation of a few relevant survival behaviors and some simple guidelines help round out “the picture” of these neighbors who are becoming a more visible part of the urban landscape.

Janet Kessler a.k.a, “the Coyote Lady” in San Francisco, has been called a, “pioneer in the photo-documentation of the lives of urban coyotes, capturing their intimate lives”. She is a self-taught naturalist and urban coyote specialist who, daily over the past 11 years, has been documenting coyote family life, their behavior towards people and pets — and our pets’ behavior towards them — and getting information and easy coexistence guidelines out to everyone. Google her “Coyotes As Neighbors” video, and visit:

Dates: January 28 to March 10, 2018

Hours:  Monday-Thursday 10am-9pm daily; Friday-Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday noon-5pm

Place: Sausalito Public Library, located in the City Hall building at 420 Litho Street in Sausalito Enter parking lot from Bee Street (off Caledonia Street).

From San Francisco, take a ferry ride over! Janet will be in and out. If you have questions, just seek her out, or contact her through her blog,

Source: Coyotes: Beyond the Howl, An Educational Exhibit by Janet Kessler | Coyote Yipps

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S.F. breaking ground on wastewater recycling plant

The sprawling lawns of Golden Gate Park and two major San Francisco golf courses are very thirsty places, and in the coming years, recycled wastewater will satisfy that thirst, thanks to a new treatment plant being built by the city’s water agency. On Wednesday, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission will begin construction on the plant that, when completed, will pump around 1.6 million gallons of treated wastewater each day to sprinklers dotting Golden Gate Park, Lincoln Park Golf Course and the Presidio Golf Course.

Those lush locales are now irrigated with drinking water — hundreds of millions of gallons each year that the city will soon be able to conserve, substantially adding to the store of drinkable water that can be tapped in the event of a natural disaster or other major emergency.

“What we’re really trying to focus on is getting the right water for the right uses,” said Steven Ritchie, assistant general manager for the SFPUC’s water division. “This is the first serious use of wastewater by San Franciscans for irrigation in decades,” he said.

Similar wastewater recycling projects have sprung up across the state as cities and intensive agricultural operations look to diversify their water sources.

“Recycling is really where the next big batch of water resilience and security is going to come from in urban parts of California,” said Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board. “It’s a very high priority,” she said, adding that the state has disbursed over $1 billion in low-cost loans and grants “to take water recycling projects from the drawing boards and getting them going on the ground.”

The new plant, scheduled to be completed by 2021, will cost around $214 million with $186 million of that from a low-interest loan the city secured from the state, Ritchie said.

Golden Gate Park, the city’s largest park, will receive most of the reclaimed water. Phil Ginsburg, general manager of San Francisco’s Recreation and Park Department, said the 1,000-acre park uses about 400 million gallons of water each year, including on its nine-hole golf course.

“I think the last half-decade or so has taught us what a precious resource water is, and it’s our shared mission with the PUC to do all we can to conserve it,” Ginsburg said.

Ritchie said the SFPUC is still working out a contractual agreement with the Presidio Trust, which oversees the Presidio Golf Club, to arrange for the water’s delivery there.

The new facility will be built adjacent to the SFPUC’s Oceanside Treatment Plant on San Francisco’s west side, which processes an average of 17 million gallons of wastewater and storm water each day, or about 20 percent of the city’s total. San Francisco is unique among coastal cities in California in that it relies on a combined sewer system that captures and treats wastewater and storm water using the same set of pipes. The bulk of the city’s wastewater and storm runoff — about 80 percent — is treated at the Southeast Treatment Plant, located in the Bayview.

The new plant will capture some of the water treated at the Oceanside plant that would ordinarily be discharged into the Pacific Ocean. At the new plant, the recaptured water will first undergo intensive filtration and pressurized purification to eliminate bacteria, organic particles and unwanted chemicals. It will then be disinfected with ultraviolet light.

The SFPUC has already laid most of the roughly 8 miles of new pipeline, mostly along 34th and 36th avenues and through the center of Golden Gate Park, that will convey the recycled water to its destinations. The agency also plans to build an 840,000-gallon underground reservoir at the park, along with a pumping station that will push water north toward the golf courses.

Both the reservoir and pump station will be built in a maintenance yard inaccessible to the public, and the city anticipates no recreational space will be lost during or after construction.

The recycled wastewater will exceed the state’s health regulations, according to the SFPUC, and the water will pose no danger to pets or wildlife.

“It’s not going into water fountains or sinks,” Ginsburg said, “but it’s clean and safe and appropriate for park landscapes.”

Source: S.F. breaking ground on wastewater recycling plant

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Loving Golden Gate Park – San Francisco Women Artists




Eucalyptus at Dust, pastel on paper, by Heath Massey, 2017


“Loving Golden Gate Park”

An exhibit of art about Golden Gate Park, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love.  San Francisco Women Artists Gallery, 647 Irving St. @ 8th Ave., Oct. 3 – Nov. 4

Juror: Matt McKinley, McKinley Art Solutions

All work available for purchase. Contact the SFWA Gallery

Source: Loving Golden Gate Park – San Francisco Women Artists

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Solar Eclipse 2017: Life Responds | California Academy of Sciences

Photo by Luc Viator (CC-BY-SA)

In case the clouds part and you want to experience the eclipse in Golden Gate Park, here’s a citizen science project that you can participate in, thanks to the California Academy of Science:

“The next solar eclipse is crossing the U.S. on August 21, 2017.  .  .

How does life respond to the dramatic event of a total solar eclipse? There is some evidence that plant and animal life react to the environmental changes that occur during a total solar eclipse. As the sky darkens and the temperature drops, birds reportedly stop singing, spiders may tear down their webs, and gray squirrels retreat to their dens, among other observed behaviors. Much of these reports, however, are anecdotal or documented with captive animals. On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will cross the continental United States, from coast to coast. The Academy invites citizen scientists like you to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to record eclipse-related animal behavior with the iNaturalist app.

Before the eclipse: Download the iNaturalist app on the App Store or Google Play and make an account. Practice making observations. Check out the Getting Started Guide for helpful tips. Join the Life Responds project on iNaturalist. Decide where you will be viewing the eclipse and know when the eclipse will be at maximum at your location. Use this map to help determine that time:  map

Day of the eclipse (Aug 21):

  1. Once you arrive at your site, scout your area for animals and plants. Choose the individual organism(s) you want to observe.
  2. During the eclipse, make 3 separate observations for each individual organism using the iNaturalist app, adding each of them to the “Life Responds” project:
    • 1st: 30 minutes before totality (or maximum coverage) make an observation in iNaturalist. Add anything interesting you notice about their behavior in the “Notes” section.
    • 2nd: During the 5 minutes of totality (or maximum coverage) make a second observation in iNaturalist. Add anything interesting you notice about their behavior in the “Notes” section.
    • 3rd: 30 minutes after totality (or maximum coverage) make a third and final observation in iNaturalist. Add anything interesting you notice about their behavior in the “Notes” section.
    • You’re welcome to make other observations of your organism(s) beyond these three – just be sure to choose the time frame in which you made these other observations in “Before, During, or After Totality” field.

For questions or more information, please contact:”

Source: Solar Eclipse 2017: Life Responds | California Academy of Sciences

Posted in animals, birds, california academy of sciences, events in Golden Gate Park, insects, plants, science, urban ecology, wildlife | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Metson Lake

Cypresses at Metson Lake

Cypresses at Metson Lake, Pastel on Paper, 10 x 13, by Heath Massey

Metson Lake, south-east of the Polo Field, is an out-of-the-way gem in Golden Gate Park.  Built in 1908 and intended as a reservoir to hold irrigation water for the park,   it opened in conjunction with the Murphy Windmill, a mile away, which pumped water to fill the lake from an underground aquifer near the beach.  Originally, water spilled into the lake via a waterfall and if you take the path around the lake you can still spot remnants of artificial rock work and speculate about the former waterworks.

William H. Metson, a prominent San Francisco lawyer and financier, was the head of the Park Commission at the time of the lake’s construction.

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Eucalyptus at Dusk

GGP Eucalyptus at dusk

Pastel on Paper, 10 x 13, by Heath Massey

One of my favorite times to walk in Golden Gate Park is at dusk.  The great, old trees stand tall, silhouetted against the sky, each one uniquely contorted and top-heavy in a delicate balancing act compensating for limbs lopped off over the years by storms and gardeners.  I imagine their roots digging into the sandy soil and gripping like toes in a mighty effort to stay erect.  Tree pose.

Eucalyptus are particularly graceful, I think.  Their foliage, delicate and feathery, drapes downward, catching the slightest breeze.  Their bark peels off in shaggy ribbons, revealing smooth pink and blue streaks spiraling around massive trunks.  Thank goodness for these hardy, adaptable immigrants who have rooted here, so far from Australia where the species originates.  They are truly the backbone of the park’s urban forest.

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