Bernal Trails Overlay for Google Earth

San Francisco Rec & Parks has posted notes from the last community meeting about trail restoration on Bernal Hill. Of particular interest is the presentation with a map (on page 41) of their “Concept Plan” for the trails. Several neighbors at the meeting remarked that it was difficult to visualize the lines on the map as actual trails, and one neighbor suggested that the proposed changes be marked in chalk on the hill so that folks could see them in context before the next (and last scheduled) community meeting on April 4.

I’d like to see and walk those chalked-in trails, myself. Until that happens, though, I thought I’d try to drape the flat trail maps onto Google Earth’s terrain model. (KML file, requires Google Earth.)

Above is Rec & Parks’ map of the existing trail network.

And this is the concept plan they brought to last week’s meeting. Google Earth’s terrain elevation model isn’t perfect, but I think it’s useful enough here, especially if you already know the contours of the hill, and are just trying to visualize the proposed changes in context.

Update: A few more pictures, from a different angle… This was probably the most controversial thing at the meeting. First, the northwest side of the hill, existing trails:

And the Concept Plan:

The lowest “trail” shown here is actually the paved (but closed) road — the west side of the Bernal Heights Boulevard loop. In Google Earth, the slope above the road doesn’t look too steep, but in reality it’s more like this (Rec & Parks photo):

The trail along the edge may be precarious, but it’s quite popular. It runs all along the north side of the hill, with gorgeous views of the city skyline. But in the Concept Plan map, the lower trails are abandoned:

The text that goes with the oval drawn around these north slope trails reads:

  • Reroute and repair trails for safety and improved access
  • Install post and rail fencing at base of slope
  • Erosion control

The post and rail fencing is intended to keep people and dogs from clambering up the steep, erosive slope.

None of this is set in stone. The Rec & Parks folks took down a lot of suggestions at last week’s meeting, and I believe they said they’d try to post an updated plan before the next meeting, April 4.

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2 thoughts on “Bernal Trails Overlay for Google Earth

  1. In 1978 or 79 the hill was little used, when we had it transferred to Park and Rec, and closed off partially to traffic. Now, I’m thrilled to see so many people enjoying it, but very sad at the deterioration and erosion. and this in spite of the very informative notice board about erosion, etc, at the lower parking lot.
    It was the same with Land’s End which is so changed. So we will have more regulation, but more native plantings and so more butterflies. And we can remind ourselves, that if it weren’t for change, we wouldn’t Have butterflies.

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