National Park Service celebrates 100 years

The towering Redwoods and lush green forests of Muir Woods National Monument encompass a winding trail head, as it paves the way to adventure. Sunlight peeks through the treetops, creating bold shadows nearly 260 feet below.

Though the pure beauty of America’s 58 National Parks is enough for a celebration, the National Park Service has more to offer. This 100th anniversary year is about community, history, culture, and most importantly, adventure.

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) includes 59 miles of the California coastline, from the Marin Headlands to Tomales Bay. Within this rugged coastline are old military bases, lighthouses and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Farther inland lie Muir Beach, Muir Woods National Monument, and Mt. Tamalpais State Park. Stinson Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, and Tomales Bay State Park sit in the northernmost section of the park. Countless adventures await at both of these sites, and within the immense beauty in between them.

“Hiking is my favorite activity at Golden Gate National Recreation Area. I love to hike to the beach, and to Chimney Rock. Exploring the area around Drakes Bay is also one of my favorite things to do at the park,” Counseling Secretary Sandy Howard said.

The National Park Service plans on allowing 16 free admission days to any National Park throughout the upcoming year. The first one will be on January 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The week of April 16 – 24 will also be free admission, as it is National Park week. August 25 – 28, the National Park Service’s birthday weekend, will be free admission as well. There will be free admission just a month later on Public Lands Day, September 24. The last of the 16 days free of charge will be on November 11: Veterans Day.

Thousands of people travel the world to visit the Golden Gate, and lucky for residents, it’s right here. Visitors will pack Marin County’s stunning GGNRA on each of the free admission days, as endless opportunities lie within the coast. Whether it be hiking to the top of Mt. Tam., camping at Samuel P. Taylor State Park, horseback riding in Tennessee Valley, or bike riding atop the Bolinas Fairfax Ridge, the opportunities at the GGNRA are unlimited.

“I love going to Point Bonita Lighthouse. It’s a beautiful experience worth sharing with both out of town guests and my own family,” math teacher Susanna Nash said.

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is unique from the majority of National Parks, as its varying landscapes are not solely derived from natural beauty. It has developed into an urban, rural park, that has something to offer almost everyone. From horseback riding to tree gazing to uncovering the secrets of San Francisco’s Presidio, the GGNRA has diverse offerings.

“I have always loved spending time in nature, and the National Parks, especially in Marin, mean so much to me. Whether I’m de-stressing or just adventuring for fun, Golden Gate National Recreation area is perfect,” senior Sophie Pelletier said.

As the National Park Service has its 100-year anniversary, go out and celebrate with them among Marin County’s pure, natural beauty.