Golden Gate Park

Trailblazer’s New Path

San Francisco Recreation and Park Department unveiled its new main trail through the Oak Woodlands in Golden Gate Park on Feb 22. The scenic path was dedicated to Phil Arnold, a longtime advocate for local parks, open space and recreational trail opportunities. 

RR SB 3-19 Phil Arnold pic crowd

The Oak Woodlands Trail in Golden Gate Park was dedicated to Phil Arnold. Lisa Wayne, natural areas manager for SF Recreation and Park (left to right), Phil Arnold (holding sign), Mohammed Nuru, head of SF Department of Public Works (cap with white shirt), Joaquin Torres, head of Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Phil Ginsburg, general manager of SF Rec. and Park, Trent Rohrer, executive director of SF Human Services Agency, Rec. and Park Commissioner Kat Anderson (green vest), with Arnold’s family and Carmen Chu (far right), SF Assessor-Recorder. Photos by John Oppenheimer.

The Phil Arnold nature trail, with way-finding and interpretive signs for pedestrians and bicyclists, begins at the intersection of JFK Drive and Conservatory Drive East, just west of McLaren Lodge and continues over knolls, past the horseshoe courts, crossing Arguello Boulevard and ending at Sixth Avenue.


The trail 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. At just under a mile, the Phil Arnold Trail adds to the approximately 30 miles of nature trails in the Rec. and Park system.

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. He worked for Rec. and Park from 1986 to 1997, and later for the city’s Human Services Agency. He has served on the SF Housing Authority Commission since 2013, the SF 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 the board chair in 2016.


Phil Arnold addresses the crowd at the dedication of the trail named is his honor.


“Phil Arnold wore many hats in his service to the City, but his ability to inspire, lead and work hard on projects benefitting our entire community remains constant,” said Rec. and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg.

The Oak Woodlands is a remnant forest located in the northeast corner of Golden Gate Park along Fulton Avenue between Stanyan Street and Sixth Avenue. The area is home to some of the oldest coast live oak trees in San Francisco.




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