Back in May, California Governor Gavin Newsom set aside $5 million to acquire Dos Rios Ranch, a wetlands restoration project in the Central Valley between the Tolumne and San Joaquin rivers, and turn it into a new state park by late 2023. This will be California’s first new state park in 13 years, and it got us thinking: What other park and public land expansion projects does Northern California have in the works? It turns out, plenty.
San Francisco has two recently opened parks. The Presidio Tunnel Tops, which opened this month, is a 14-acre stretch above the Presidio Parkway’s twin roadway tunnels. The latest addition to the Presidio and the larger Golden Gate National Recreation Area features elements such as a wind-sheltered Campfire Circle and the wheelchair-friendly Cliff Walk that offers several panoramic overlooks of the San Francisco Bay. There are also reservable picnic tables, meadows for lounging, and a playground constructed from materials that were plucked straight from nature, such as fallen tree trunks and boulders.
In the city’s Russian Hill neighborhood, a former reservoir was reimagined as the city’s largest public park in 40 years and opened in April 2022. The 4.5-acre Francisco Park has an off-leash area for dogs, a playground with seven swings and a mini ropes course, and a historic area that honors its past as a water source for residents.