PRESIDENT’S REPORT – January 2020
We are starting the new year with some interesting possible events planned. The tour of Arion Press will be on January 30 and should be fascinating. A list of these will be prepared and distributed soon.
We have been given an eviction notice from the Universal Life building on Franklin. They seem to need our office for more homeless outreach staff, and it certainly would benefit from a face lift. This will mean a lot of work thinning out our belongings and packing. But we will rent a storage space where paperwork and equipment can be stored, and consolidated (now in the office and various garages around town). Long term plans for the church will be to demolish that building and build more housing and offices. A property management team has taken over from the church, and after meeting with their representative, we definitely had the impression that our tenancy was fragile. It was a fine, affordable arrangement, thanks to our old administrator, Steven Krefting, and for that we are grateful!
We propose for the foreseeable future to do without an physical office, putting our files in storage and going as paperless as we can. Executive meetings would be in cafés. The savings could be applied to events which we might otherwise have to charge for. Other options, which we can go over at our next meeting, all have disadvantages of cost, lack of independence or impermanence. We are open to other ideas, nevertheless.
The monthly People for the Parks and Presidio gave us an extensive presentation by Michael Bolland on the progress of construction of the Tunnel Tops, Quartermaster Reach, and the Battery Tunnel Top, and plans for the Girard Entry, and Calvary barracks. He also reported on the problems solved by the successful restoration of Mountain Lake, which is evolving in a good direction. New oak trees are taking hold and growing, and native plants and animals thriving. The participation of the neighboring community is vital, especially the pledge to avoid releasing non-native former pets into the lake.
He discussed lighting in the Presidio, and the need to keep it safe while maintaining the “dark sky” required by NPS, especially good for birds.
Bolland reported that the Trust has received the Green Flag Award, which is a worldwide honor, and the Presidio is the first US entity to receive one! He himself has received an award from the American Society of Landscape Architects. The assembled gave both a round of applause.
The Conservancy reports that the warming hut will be closed for renovation, and due to lack of fund, are closing the kitchen. The staff have all been found new places to work. It will close March 9 for 8 weeks.
Alicia Shore, of the native plant nursery gave an inspiring presentation. They produce 150,000 plants per year at four sites. But they have been contending with a dangerous pathogen called phytophthora, a water-born pathogen that threatens plant life. It is a relative of sudden oak death. By steaming soil and scrubbing their facilities, the nurseries are providing much healthier plants and signs of phytophthora have vanished. They test for it by putting a pear in run-off from their nurseries. If they don’t turn black but stay looking like pears, the disease is not present. We might have a tour of the nursery as a field trip. But washing our shoes first is essential!
The cross-town trail initiated by Bob Segal is a big success. Going diagonally from the Presidio to the Bay.
Another trail even more exciting is the Anza Trail. Speical guest, Naomi Torres, Superintendant of the Anza Trail described trails as “monuments to events rather than places, so pose special problems for interpretation. She discussed the upcoming 250th anniversary of the Trail in 2026, and asked for people interested in volunteering to help plan local events. She has no staff to speak of (a total of 3) and works with localities along the trail to enhance and publicize the trail which passes through 19 counties. There are three routes: the historic one, the auto route, and the recreational trail route. There are shield shaped trail signs along these routes.