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.

Producer’s Notes, National Parks Special: Bringing the Parks to the People 11 March,2016Chris Bauer

  • Last nights episode really brought home the need to bring the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite back to life. To be a part of this important effort please visit and sign up for our monthly newsletter.

  • Peter R

    The Quest program,–national-parks-special-bringing-the-parks-to-the-people, did not have the credits at the end in the online version (only in the broadcast/cable version)? Why ?


  • Chris Bauer

    Edgar Wayburn, the five-time president of the Sierra Club died Friday March 5th, 2010 at his home in San Francisco. He was 103 years old.

    While maybe not a household name, Mr. Wayburn was a hero to modern conservationists. And millions of people around the world have enjoyed his legacy. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and the general expansion America’s National Parks. Through his quiet determination he helped preserve some of our most cherished pristine wildernesses, from the ancient redwood forests of Northern California to the mountains and expansive vistas of Alaska.

    “He has saved more of our wilderness than any person alive,” said President Bill Clinton in 1999, when he awarded Mr. Wayburn the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    Directly and indirectly, he has influenced, inspired and taught many of us to help preserve, protect and respect our natural world.
    Edgar Wayburn will be missed.

    To learn more about Mr. Wayburn and his legacy, see:

  • Chris Bauer

    STORY UPDATE: “A nesting pair of California clapper rails and their two chicks have been confirmed in San Francisco’s Heron’s Head Park, the first time in decades that the endangered chicken-like bird has been documented breeding in the city.”

    Read more:

  • Chris Bauer

    STORY UPDATE: Here’s an update on the Candlestick Point restoration we feature in our National Parks Special:

    Candlestick Point wetland reclaimed as key habitat


Chris Bauer

Chris Bauer is a Freelance Media Producer with over 20 years experience working in broadcast television; producing sports, history, technology, science, environment and adventure related programming. He is a two-time winner of the international Society of Environmental Journalists Award for Outstanding Television Story and has received multiple Northern California Emmy Awards. Some of his Quest stories have been featured in the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival, Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, United Nations Association Film Festival, the BLUE Ocean Film Festival and the Environmental Film Festival in Washington DC. A 5th generation Bay Area resident and a graduate of St. Mary's College of California, his hobbies include canoeing, snowboarding, wood-working and trying to play the ukulele. He and his family live in Alameda, CA.

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