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It's hard to conceive of a preserve of this scale in the fourth most populous metropolitan complex in the country. Much of it derives from the U.S. Army's determination to make the San Francisco isthmus impregnable. The GGNRA encompasses seven obsolete military installations.  

  

 

If you're familiar with San Francisco and its surrounds, you can look at it this way. Imagine yourself atop Telegraph Hill facing the Pacific. Down to your right are the islands of Angel and Alcatraz. Ahead the Golden Gate Bridge stretches toward the chaparral-covered headlands of Marin County. To the left is a metropolitan greenbelt realtors had been rubbing their hands over for decades. It runs along the San Francisco shoreline from Aquatic Park to Land's End, taking in the Maritime Museum, Fort Mason, the Marina Green, the Presidio, Baker Beach, a piece of Lincoln Park and Fort Miley.

  

Around the corner to the south are the Cliff House, Ocean Beach's 8.5 miles of pounding surf, and the sandstone cliffs and dunes of Fort Funston. The park's San Francisco segment totals 4,800 acres. Directly across the Golden Gate are the rolling hills, valleys and inlets of Fort Baker, Barry and Cronkhite. All of this is part of the Golden Gate Recreation Area.

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last updated 2-02-2001