Crissy Field, a former U.S. Army airfield, is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco, California, United States. Historically part of the Presidio of San Francisco, Crissy Field closed as an airfield in 1936. Under Army control, the site was affected by dumping of hazardous materials. The National Park Service took control of the area in 1994 and cleaned it up, and in 2001 the Crissy Field Center opened to the public.



San Francisco landscape architecture firm Hargreaves Associates was in charge of restoration of Crissy Field. The principal landscape architects were George Hargreaves and Mary Margaret Jones. Hargreaves and Jones advocated an “ecological approach to planning, the preservation and restoration of natural systems, and the notion of sustainable landscape.”  During the planning stages of the project, Hargreaves and Associates participated in public meetings and feedback session to interface with the local community.

The largest contribution for the restoration of Crissy Field came from the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. and Harold and Mimi Haas Foundations, totaling $18 million, eclipsing the NPS’s $16 million. The rest of the money came from members of the public. Some 2,400 people made donations towards the $34.4 million raised for Crissy Field, of which 2,200 were $100 or less.

Experts handled specialized work such as the design and construction process, removal of hazardous materials, and testing and monitoring of the estuary and marsh, but those parts of the project that could be shared were delegated to the wider community of stakeholders. Approximately 3,000 volunteers, ranging from neighbors to elementary students, spent 2,400 hours planting 100,000 plants representing 73 native species.

Crissy Field presented the challenge of the “restoration of a culturally significant grass military airfield” overlapping much of the same landscape as the tidal marsh, effecting “the ability to restore the marsh to the pre-military configuration, to an idealized ‘natural’ condition.” In order to create the new site, 87,000 tons of hazardous materials were removed from the site itself and the tidal wetlands were redesigned to simulate the wetlands that existed before the military appropriated the site and used the area as a dump and landfill location. The site provides great views of the San Francisco bay area, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.

The completed Crissy Field reopened in 2001. New and rebuilt sidewalks, boardwalks, and trails connect the field north to Fort Point, the Warming Hut (a cafe), and south to the Crissy Field Center, an environmental education center, and the Marina District. Since that time many buildings were restored and leased out as housing, office space, retail, and recreational facilities. The old temporary wood barracks were demolished and the grass airfield restored. Letterman Army Hospital, a large concrete structure, literally was ground to dust and the concrete recycled. In its place George Lucas relocated Industrial Light & Magic.






Crissy Field is now part of an urban national park, which, due to its location and scenic views, is popular with both locals and tourists.


  1. West Bluff – the westernmost part of Crissy Field, which includes a picnic area, the Warming Hut cafe, and connector paths and trails to the Golden Gate Bridge and Fort Point.
  2. Beach and dunes – the shoreline along Crissy Field has been restored, including the creation of sand dunes which provide habitat for several native species.
  3. Promenade and trails – The Golden Gate Promenade runs from the Crissy Field Center adjacent to the beach to the Warming Hut. This is also a section of the San Francisco Bay Trail, which runs along the coast of the San Francisco Bay.
  4. Newly restored tidal wetlands – The restored tidal marsh now hosts 17 fish species and 135 species of birds have been seen there. Around the tidal marsh, native vegetation has been planted and a boardwalk across the marsh has been constructed, providing views of the wildlife.
  5. Crissy Field Center – An environmental education center for youth that provides school-year and summer programs.