Work adds sparkle and relevance to glorious Marin Headlands – Marin Independent Journal

The conversion of Marin Headlands military defenses into a park is reaching its final milestones.

Concrete bunkers, long-abandoned missile silos and old radar stations are turned into sites for visitors who make their way to the cliffs along the northwest side of the Golden Gate to take in the spectacular view or watch the hawks. , eagles, vultures and hawks that nest in the area.

The National Park Service is close to completing its $ 7 million restoration of WWII bunkers and Cold War radars and turning them into viewing platforms for Hawk Hill, the location popular for observing raptors.

This latest improvement to a popular spot in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area is a rapprochement between history and an appreciation for nature. Its popularity is reminiscent of what was spared in the 1960s campaign to prevent the region from becoming a new town of about 30,000 people, called Marincello. Political and legal campaigns derailed plans to build 50 high-rise apartment buildings, large swathes of single-family homes and a hotel on the Headlands shore and hills.

Ultimately, this acreage was sold to be part of the GGNRA.

The recently completed portion of the Hawk Hill Project includes an improved loop trail that takes people through three WWII concrete tunnels to the artillery batteries on the hillside and at the top of the hill. Educational panels, benches and toilets have been installed.

The trail is also designed to be wheelchair accessible.

The never-completed bunkers were built to defend against a Japanese naval attack during World War II, but by the time the cement works were completed the threat subsided and the war ended.

In fact, some of the fortifications date back even earlier, to 1893 and when Grover Cleveland was in the White House. They had been equipped with artillery which was in place until WWII.

The next phases will be to repair the crumbling concrete slabs that were part of the Nike missile defense system built in 1954 during the Cold War. It was deactivated in 1971. The plan also includes the restoration of a hut-like command post and a bunker at the top of the hill.

Repairing and using the upgrades is a great way to reflect the varied history of the site, as a unique station of our country’s military might in a place where hikers, bird watchers and researchers take in the sights and wildlife.

Funding is now in place to complete the work.

Improvements for visitors to this popular site have been going on for decades.

Its completion will be welcomed by visitors drawn to the site to take in the views, learn about its history, and watch raptors ride the thermals.

About Leslie Schwartz

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