Living here in the San Francisco Bay Area I marvel at the diverse culture that sprouts from our surrounding parks and open spaces. In Golden Gate Park alone you can practice fly-fishing, sail a model boat, ride a horse, play golf, kick a soccer ball, tackle rugby, or pitch a horseshoe, bocce or baseball. You can see where the buffalo roam or spin round and round on an antique carousel. Skate, bike, row a boat, play music, dance to the beat of your own drum and stop to smell the roses. Nearby, down at Ocean Beach surfers ride the waves and kids make sand castles. Stroll the promenade at Crissy Field and you’ll see people soaking up the sun on the beach, flying kites, fishing off the pier or windsurfing under the Golden Gate. Go to Fort Funston where you can run your dogs down to the beach or launch your hang glider off the cliff and soar into the sky. I can go on and on but you get the picture. And that’s just here in San Francisco! Add the Peninsula, North, South and East Bay then combine all the city, county, state and federal parks with all the regional open spaces and count your blessings. It’s been said that if you go to any neighborhood in Bay Area, there is a park or a trailhead less than a mile away. These places are calling us outside to play. And in the process they are building our communities, and in many ways defining who we are and who we want to be.
Of all the activities happening in the parks, probably the most important and rewarding is volunteering to help preserve and protect these amazing places. I urge you all to pitch in. Contact your local regional parks and open space district and see what you can do to help. It’s up to all of us to make sure these wonderful places are saved and maintained for everyone in the future.
If you’ve watched the show, or are reading this blog about the National Parks, the chances are you also know that filmmaker Ken Burns is about to release his next series “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” Through our role in the development and distribution of the series, KQED is collecting viewer stories about their own experiences with these hallowed places. Let us know what these marvelous open spaces mean to you by sharing your story. We’d love to hear about your favorite park, Bay Area or beyond.