The Battle for Edgehill Mountain

  |   Hikes in the City, Parks, Politics, Spots Explored   |   6 Comments

Edgehill Mountain, San Francisco

It’s wedged between Mount Davidson and Forest Hill, and it offers some amazing vistas and a thriving natural area, but you won’t find Edgehill Mountain or its open space labeled on any official maps. Yet.

Because it’s San Francisco, there is of course an epic clash between good and evil unfolding on this obscure, scenic bump in the topography. Land developers vs. stewards, citizens vs. city officials, native vs. invasive plants – and stuck in the middle, a humble little hillside that just wants to be who it was meant to be.

Large homes – many of them owned by Italian land magnate Angelo Sangiacomo – are densely-packed right up to the summit, but the south side is too steep. This fact was demonstrated several times in the past when large portions of the hill turned to mud and slid away. In the ’50s a house was taken out entirely, and in 1997 mud crashed into some unfinished homes.

The city refuses to maintain Edgehill Way, the single-lane road that circles the crest. A patchwork of filled potholes and an abundance of foliage make it feel like a country road in the middle of the city. The lookout facing south at Mount Davidson is quite special:

Edgehill Mountain Lookout, San Francisco

On a clear day you can see the ocean from the park.

Edgehill is easily accessible from the Forest Hill and West Portal Muni stations. Check the Spots Map for exact location, and then visit. Go on a second Saturday for a work party and help local resident Stan Kaufman, president of the Friends of Edgehill Mountain Park, and Randy Zebell of SF Rec & Parks fight the good fight against non-native weeds.

  • Stan Kaufman | Apr 14, 2010 at 10:08 am

    The photo toward Mt D shows the slope that slid back in the 1990s. It’s been “resurfaced” with some sort of concrete material and wire fence, but it’s now infested with invasive French broom that is breaking up the surface and providing a vast reservoir of seed that will keep this aggressive weed going forever. The Edgehill Mt Park is around the hill to the right (west) and thus is fortunately mostly upwind from this nuisance. But the weed burden facing the park — which is an officially-designated Significant Natural Resource Area — needs intervention from as many volunteers as we can get for our work-parties every second Saturday of the month from 1-3pm.

  • olde nasty | Apr 14, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    bien trabajo!

  • Round Up: Six Months Worth of Spots Unknown « Spots Unknown | Apr 14, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    […] Edgehill Mountain: I first spotted this on a topo map, unlabeled of course. Turned out to be quite a specimen of the sort of city fight that can only happen in San Francisco. […]

  • Jeff Diehl | Apr 21, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    hey Stan, guess what i found online?

    One supervisor, Leland Yee, took umbrage at the notion that only native species should be kept, and exotic ones eradicated, comparing it to racial cleansing or “xenophobia.”
    “Plants and trees without the proper pre-Mayflower lineage are called `invasive exotics’ and are wrenched from the soil to die,” Yee wrote in a local newspaper editorial. “How many of us are `invasive exotics’ who have taken root in the San Francisco soil, have thrived and flourished here, and now contribute to the diversity of the wonderful mix that constitutes present-day San Francisco?”

  • Stan Kaufman | Apr 21, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Yee was the most vocal opponent of the Natural Areas Program back in the dark days of 2001-2. He was pandering for the off-leash dog vote at the time, though he was not alone; Gavin Newsom and Mark Leno went well out of their way to defend off-leash dogs in the GGNRA. But this “habitat restoration is racist” argument that plumbed new lows of idiocy was Yee’s alone.

  • Ariel. | Apr 22, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Good job here.