New wheelchair access at Glen Canyon

Jon Campo, Joe Grey and Charles Gresl putting the finishing touches on a Glen Canyon ramp for disabled park users. --- August 24, 2011.

By Murray Schneider

While it will be some time before the 2008 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond money is used for Glen Canyon trail improvements, San Francisco Recreation and Park’s Natural Areas employees didn’t let any dust collect beneath their feet on August 24th.

Joe Grey and Jon Campo removed a step to a boardwalk paralleling Islais Creek and replaced it with a rock and dirt access ramp for disabled park users.

“We got orders right from the top,” said Joe Grey, the Natural Areas volunteer coordinator.

Grey, who has worked for Rec and Park for eight months, hopped to it and enlisted Friends of Glen Canyon Park volunteer Charles Gresl for some of the heavy lifting.

Grey’s orders from above came from Lisa Wayne, Natural Areas Manager. And it didn’t particularly matter that the first recreational users across the tampered down chert and dirt ramp were Josie, a Chenery Street St. Bernard, and her two kennel mates.

“When I was working along the creek a woman in a wheel chair had to leave it to access the boardwalk,” said Wayne. “So I asked our carpenters to fix the grade so that the boardwalk remained accessible.”
Gresl rested while 12-year veteran City gardener Jon Campo leaned on his rake. Campo watched Josie amble across his freshly constructed earthen handiwork, maybe envisioning a time in the not far off future when lumbering Josie may require her own canine-friendly ramp.

After all, Josie carries lots of weight and she’s no spring pooch.

The price tag for the day’s labor couldn’t have been all that much. Chert is as common in the canyon as candidates are in the upcoming mayoral election. Campo and Grey are already on the clock, and Gresl, a retired engineer who lives on Diamond Heights, volunteers gratis.

“I have a special place in my heart for our city parks,” said Phil Ginsburg, Park and Rec’s General Manager, when he took his post back in July 2009. “I’m looking forward to getting to know the people who work in them, play in them and care for them on a daily basis.”

A portion of the earmarked $900,000 trail improvement bond money will be used to make canyon trails ADA compatible, and the boardwalk ramp is only a tiny down payment on these improvements.

Lisa Wayne and her Glen Canyon Park gardening stewards will oversee bond money devoted to restoring eroding trails, constructing new stairs leading from Alms Road, improving drainage along paths that become quagmires after rainstorms and fashioning a “connector” path to Portola Avenue that runs through SFUSD property.

Ensuring that paths, particularly at Glen Canyon’s Elk Street entrance, become ADA accessible benefits everyone.

Then, when Phil Ginsburg meets and greets canyon users and those who keep it shipshape, he may even bump into hard-to-miss, big-pawed, Josie.

She usually shows up around 11 a.m. any day of the week, rain or shine, on flat trails or those that are ramped.

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