If the posted signs of environmental hazards are to be believed, it’s advised that you don’t visit the southeast industrial coast of San Francisco.
I was there as part of an ongoing video project, but despite the joys of discovering hulks of decaying artifacts and debris, the warnings about tainted shellfish (not to mention the international sign for “radiation”) definitely made me think twice about having crawled through that hole in the fence.
After a few hours in the hot sun I began to think I could taste the toxins in the back of my throat. But surely, the hazard was overblown. Just look at all the water fowl, feasting on organisms that have marinaded in the same stuff I’m stepping in. They seem fine, and I’m more robust than a sea gull, even at my age.
I reminded myself that I’d begun my own trip that day at Candlestick Point Recreation Area just to the south, which bears no such pollution signs, and come on: you gonna tell me the fishermen there weren’t reeling in fish that had also swum through these tainted waters?
Still, I was glad when I reached (relatively) clean asphalt again.
With the mild renaissance of Candlestick Point Recreation Area, you’d think there would be more interest in the conspicuous hill that juts up from the far side of the football stadium. It’s called Bayview Park (or Bayview Hill, alternatively), and it sacrificed its eastern slopes in the 1950s as fill on which to plant the arena.
It has suffered from neglect and harsh urbanization throughout its history, and it it’s barely appreciated even now by San Francisco residents, despite its natural beauty and kickass vistas. But it is getting attention by some for its high diversity of native plant species, including coastal scrub, oak groves, and the largest population of rare Islais cherry trees around.
There are also a number of area and migratory birds that frequent the hill; I spotted a big, fat Horned Owl when I went last weekend.
I also went off-trail a bit and discovered the ruins of a makeshift structure:
I don’t know if it was a kid’s fort or a homeless encampment, but it was cool. I’m not gonna tell you exactly how to find it – because what fun would that be? – but if you decide to go looking, be sure to wear shoes with some tread.
For anyone who claims to be fan of SF’s hilltops, this spot simply must be visited and explored.