The Presidio Trust: Mission and History
The Presidio Trust’s mission is to preserve and enhance the Presidio as an enduring resource for the American public. The Trust’s work encompasses the natural areas, wildlife, and native habitats of the park, as well as the historic structures and designed landscapes that make the park a National Historic Landmark District. The Presidio Trust is dedicated to ensuring that visitors to this spectacular place have the opportunity to gain a broader understanding of the Presidio, its place in American history, and the plants and wildlife which once thrived throughout the region.
The Presidio’s Journey “from Post to Park”
The Presidio’s transformation from military post to national park began in 1972 when Congress created the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), a network of historic sites and preserved open space that today links 75,500 acres along the Northern California coast. In the legislation that established the GGNRA, Congress mandated that the Presidio – then an active U.S. Army post – would become part of the GGNRA if the Presidio became superfluous to the military.
As the Cold War drew to a close, the federal government reexamined the nation’s defense needs, and in 1989 decided to close the Presidio. In October 1994, the U.S. Army lowered its flag for the last time, and the Presidio was transferred to the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The Presidio Trust: A New Model for Park Management
Because of the Presidio’s city-like infrastructure, its nearly 800 buildings, and its expansive cultivated forest and natural areas, funding the Presidio’s operation and long-term care is much more costly than traditional parks. In 1996, Congress devised a management and funding model unique among national parks, and created the Presidio Trust to preserve the Presidio’s natural, scenic, cultural, and recreational resources, and to become financially self-sufficient. The Trust manages the interior 80 percent of Presidio lands (known as Area B), including most buildings and infrastructure. The National Park Service manages coastal areas (known as Area A). View a map indicating jurisdiction Areas A and B.
The Trust receives federal appropriations that diminish each year, and cease at the end of fiscal year 2012. The Trust uses these funds and lease revenues to rehabilitate the park's buildings, restore its open spaces and historic resources, provide programs for visitors, maintain utilities and infrastructure, and fund the Presidio’s long-term care.
The Management Vision
In 2002, the Trust adopted a management plan for the interior lands of the Presidio. The Presidio Trust Management Plan: Land Use Policies for Area B of the Presidio of San Francisco lays out a general framework for preserving and protecting the park's cultural, natural, scenic, and recreational resources, serving the public, and financing the park’s care. Additionally, the Trust has completed a five-year Strategic Plan to address the goals for which the Trust was created.
Presidio Trust Board of Directors and Staff
The Presidio Trust is governed by a seven-member board of directors. Six members are appointed by the President of the United States. The seventh is the U.S. Secretary of the Interior or his/her designee.
An executive director reports to the board and oversees staff with expertise in environmental science, historic preservation and restoration, operations and maintenance, landscape design, planning, resource management, real estate development, public affairs and programs, law, and finance.