Oak Woodlands of Golden Gate Park
The Oak Woodlands are located in the northeast corner of Golden Gate Park. The coast live oak, Quercus agrifolia, is really the only indigenous tree in San Francisco County that existed here before European colonization. There are three major areas where these old-growth oak woodlands occur: Golden Gate Park, Buena Vista Park, and the Presidio. The grove in Golden Gate Park is the largest of the three, has good documentation that the trees pre-date the park itself and are hundreds of years old. When Golden Gate Park was started in 1871 approximately fifty acres of wooded oak areas were left as "wilderness." The trees, an historic remnant of an earlier landscape, were eventually cut for fuel but they resprouted and some of the trees in the woodlands today are from those sprouts. The trees have not yet regained their maximum size. Some of the groves have a scattered overstory of human introduced non-indigenous trees such as the blue gum eucalyptus and the Monterey pine and cypress. Invasive species have changed the nature of the woodland, but aggressive restoration efforts are gradually bringing it closer to its native condition. Do not expect dense forest, but use your time here to celebrate and imagine the original landscape of the Bay area.