A new trail through some of the city’s oldest coast live oaks opened Feb. 22 in Golden Gate Park and was dedicated to a longtime advocate for local parks.
The Phil Arnold Trail is just under a mile long and begins at the intersection of JFK Drive and Conservatory Drive East, just west of McLaren Lodge, park official said.
The trail through the Oak Woodlands of Golden Gate Park continues over knolls, past the horseshoe courts, crossing Arguello Boulevard and ending at Sixth Avenue.
The Oak Woodlands is a remnant forest located in the northeast corner of the park along Fulton Avenue between Stanyan Street and Sixth Avenue. The area has some of the oldest coast live oak trees in San Francisco and was added to the Old Growth Forest Network in 2015. It provides significant wildlife habitat, park officials said.
Arnold, chair of the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council Board and 33-year city employee, provided instrumental support for the realignment of the Bay Ridge Trail that connects Twin Peaks, Mount Sutro and the Oak Woodlands, park officials said.
He worked for the Recreation and Parks Department from 1986 to 1997, and later for the city’s Human Services Agency. He has served on the San Francisco Housing Authority Commission since 2013, the San Francisco Parks Alliance Board of Directors since 2011 and as a member of the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council Board of Directors since 2005. He became board chair in 2016.
“Phil Arnold wore many hats in his service to the city, but his ability to inspire, lead, and work hard on projects benefiting our entire community remains constant,” said Recreation and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg.
The San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission approved the naming in October 2018.
The trail is for pedestrians and bicyclists and is part of the newly finished Golden Gate Park Oak Woodlands Trail Improvement Project, funded by the 2012 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond as well as a private grant and state Habitat Conservation Fund grant.
Construction began in June 2018 and included repair of existing trails in the area, erosion control and restoration of native plants.