By Lee Hubbard
Once or twice a week, Maxine Gilkerson leads a group of people from the Rafiki Coalition for Health and Wellness on walks through various neighborhoods in San Francisco.
The Rafiki Coalition is a health organization that works to eliminate health inequities in San Francisco’s black community through education, advocacy, and holistic health services.
On one such walk, Gilkerson was leading a group through the Presidio, San Francisco’s only national park beside the Golden Gate Bridge, when she stumbled across her newest outdoor trail and park, the Outpost. The outpost sits atop Presidio Tunnel Tops, a 2-acre outdoor destination full of creative play, benches, slides, barbecue pits, education centers, and a science lab.
“We’ve been doing this since 2018, taking groups for walks to relieve stress and get out and see nature,” said Gilkerson, the Rafiki Coalition’s community outreach and engagement manager. “The Presidio is a prime park and a good place to stay. The additions to this place are nice for the kids to go for a run. »
As summer heats up, people like Gilkerson and his group are looking for outdoor activities, hobbies and fitness opportunities. The Presidio is a park that fits that bill. In fact, the Presidio is a must-see destination in San Francisco divided into four parts.
These four parts include the Golden Gate area, where the bridge is located; Crissy Field, which consists of a walking path and beach; Southern Wilds, which is the forested area in the southern part of the park; and the Main Post which has office buildings and outposts from the 1800s.
The Presidio Outpost is between the Main Post and Crissy Fields. The Presidio rehabilitated the area and opened a new facility for youth and adults, with the construction of attractions and walking paths.
“This outpost was designed by pediatricians and youth experts,” said Beatrice Kilgot, public relations specialist at the Presidio.
In the structure of the park, there is a hydro-tunnel for crawling and hiding, which was built through a form of rocky terrain, a 250-year-old fallen white oak tree, carved into three pieces that you can crawl through, and a stunning slide, made from the coastal cliffs of Presidio.
“We work to facilitate environmentally friendly activities,” said Briana Canizales, adventure guide at the Presidio. “We used natural materials to create the outpost.”
A field station was also built on the structure of the outpost. It is an indoor facility, with a lab and an indoor exhibit, that deals with the environment and the animals that exist in the park.
“The field station features some of the animals that have been found in the Presidio or Golden Gate National Recreation Grounds,” Canizales continued. “It is a research center that studies the Presidio and its habitat and shows the historical growth of the park.”
The official inauguration of the Outpost will take place on July 17, 2022 and will be open to the public.