Recap: World Urban Parks & World Parks Academy Webinar: Climate Change Hasn’t Stopped for a Pandemic – Adapting Parks for Sea Level Rise, Flooding, and Fire

How do we prepare the parks for the various impacts of climate change? Michael Boland, Chief Park Office of The Presidio Trust hosted the World Urban Parks webinar with Alison Forrestal, Golden Gate National Recreation Area Chief of Natural Resources and Science; Kevin Conger, CMG Landscape Architecture Principal; and Lucinda Sanders, Olin CEO and Partner to discuss the impact of rising temperatures, frequent wildfires, intense river flooding, and rising sea levels. Watch the recording of the webinar:  

Fire Management in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in the era of Climate Change

Fires are becoming more frequent and increasing in temperatures both day and night in the western U.S, leading to warmer and drier conditions ready for wildfire. Golden Gate National Recreation Area covers more than 80,000 acres in 3 counties of the San Francisco Bay Area neighboring 2.5 million people and welcoming 17 million annual visitors.

Community Preparedness is the top strategy to respond and adapt to wildfire for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area by:

  • Creating a defensible space.
  • The Boundary Vegetation Management Program enables the Park’s neighbors to apply to remove vegetation on park land near their home in coordination with ecologists to create a defensible boundary.
  • Establishing evacuation routes.
  • Educating the community and public.
    • “Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority (MWPA) was formed to develop and implement a comprehensive wildfire prevention and emergency preparedness plan throughout almost all of Marin County” – Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority website.
    • “The Marin Forest Management Strategy for One Tam will provide a series of informed treatment methods to improve the ecology of Marin forests. These approaches will improve forest habitat and protect biodiversity, while also strategically managing vegetation to reduce “fire fuels” such as dry brush and diseased or dying trees.” – One Tam Forest Health & Resiliency website

Adapting for Sea Level Rise at Crissy Field

Situated in the nearly 1,500-acre Presidio military base that was converted to a National Park, Crissy Field is a 100-acre waterfront park that is managed by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, built in 1999 and designed by Hargreaves Associates.

In 2014, CMG led a planning process to create a vision for the next 20 years of Crissy Field. Engagement and analysis with the park’s diverse stakeholders and interest groups informed a strategic project framework; Crissy Field Refresh proposes new visions for Mason Street bike promenade, airfield programming, boardwalks and tidal marsh overlooks, and parking improvements.

To ensure the longevity of these improvements, CMG engaged in the analysis of sea level rise at Crissy Field and the vulnerability of the community and park assets. A Rise-Up Community Workshop looked at these vulnerability scenarios and community members designed their own vision for Crissy Field prioritizing cultural, historical, and ecological assets using various adaptation tools such as retreat, beach, seawall, levee, wetlands, and walkways. View the Crissy Field Sea Level Rise Analysis Report.


Sea Level Rise Projections for San Francisco Bay Area, Crissy Field + Sea Level Rise Report, May 2016

Designing for Flooding in the Midwest

Olin is leading the design for a new 400-acre park in Southern Indiana and plans to transform this park into a climate-resilient open space embracing the changing flooding patterns. The design integrates the river into the park’s experience through the path and programming, water, topography, ecology for low to high water areas of the park.