Glen Canyon with Stairs and Coyote

This is one of our “park visitor” series – first person accounts of our parks, published with permission.


Source: Wikipedia (fair use)

It was dusk when I climbed down into Glen Canyon from the Christopher Playground. It’s been some months since I visited it last, and I was saddened by the changes stemming from SF Recreation and Parks “trails” project.

All the hillside trails have been made into staircases.  It reminded me of a drawing by Escher: they’re nearly as as difficult to walk. The risers of the box steps are high and the pitch not suited to everyone. Tiring and hard on the knees, and so it will effectively restrict access to many people.


But then a coyote came out of the bushes. I was delighted, though not surprised.  Coyotes inhabit most of the city now, and the park has coyote-spotting signs up at the Christopher playground. But what followed was a surprise (to me, anyway!)

The park is surrounded by urban areas, and an emergency vehicle was racing by on the street above, siren wailing. “Watch,” said my companion. “He’s going to howl with the siren.” And sure enough – the little coyote raised his muzzle to the sky, gave a few barks, and then howled along with the siren.

I managed to get a blurry photograph. coyote howlingA few dogs from nearby homes responded with a woof or two, but they weren’t serious. The siren-coyote duet continued until the vehicle raced away and the sound faded. The coyote sat down, convinced, I thought, that it had told off the intruder into its territory and announced who really occupied this space.

The dusk deepened, and this magical moment was broken by  flights of mosquitoes. I’ve been to Glen Canyon many times over many years, and these are a new thing for me. Wonder if it’s anything to do with the Islais Creek – and the felling of the bat trees.

This entry was posted in "Natural" Areas Program, Blocks Access, Wastes Money and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Glen Canyon with Stairs and Coyote

  1. milliontrees says:

    It will be interesting to see how long all those stairs hold up. They are essentially wooden boxes filled with gravel. One often finds that over time, the gravel drains out of the boxes after a few years of rain and we are left with a hillside of empty wooden boxes functioning more as hurdles than as stairs.

  2. Jane Shepard says:


    Does anyone read responses to these posts? I’ve replied a few times but think they must just wander off in cyberspace.

    I want to express how much I enjoy these Park Visitor accounts. Such an eloquent description of the effects of RPD’s actions and the horrifying reality of how we are slowly being evicted from our open spaces which are being changed, without regard to evolution or concern for the wildlife that has adapted to changes made by the arrival of over 800,000 people, into someone’s idea of how things were 300 years ago. Never mind how many species it will eradicate, we must preserve a few at all costs. And cost it does. In addition to wildlife and tree canopy lost, it takes away our recreation directors, so necessary for our children, and our gardeners and maintenance staff, who take care of what little park space is left. And still with all those millions of dollars and thousands of gallons of herbicides and pesticides, it is unsustainable. Mother Nature wins every time.

    I wish all the residents of San Francisco could read these beautiful posts.

    Thank you! ~ jane ~

    [Webmaster: Thanks for the comment, Jane. Sorry if some of your comments didn’t come through. All comments are moderated, because we get a lot of spam and we may need a day or two to send them through. Sometimes the automated spam trap picks up non-spammy comments by mistake, too. We love getting comments, though!]

  3. T. Estrella says:

    This was a semi-wilderness area for many, many years, where my (now adult) children learned about and were taught to appreciate nature. It has now been turned into a City Park – a sad end to something that was once (not all that long ago) rare and wondrous. I don’t go there anymore, despite living across the street.

  4. Barne says:

    The Escher print is EXACTLY how all those stairs in Glen Canyon strike me. EVERYONE is complaining about them: that all those stairs hurt their knees, or that it’s so much more difficult to walk now, that the magical “wild” has been too tamed, that it no longer is a natural place, but a gardened place with sidewalks. Those who don’t seem to mind all the stairs are young folks who run with earphones plugged into their ears, oblivious to everything that’s around them — they use the park as their outdoor “stair master” checking their timings on their iPhones at the top of the stairs. Even some of the construction workers told me that the number of stairs was “crazy” — that it was obvious that RPD had “money to burn”.

  5. T. Estrella says:

    Couldn’t agree more.

  6. Pingback: Glen Canyon’s Full of Stairs | Save the Trees of Glen Canyon Park, San Francisco

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