Park Service wants ferries for Muir Woods

In an attempt to make it easier for visitors to explore Muir Woods and parks in Marin, the National Park Service is talking about setting up a new ferry line from The City.

The new line would shuttle visitors from The City to Fort Baker or Sausalito, where they could then take a shuttle to various Golden Gate National Recreation Area sites in the area.

The park service already has a contract with Alcatraz Cruises to transport visitors from Pier 31-1/2  in SF to Alcatraz. Under the new plan, they would expand the ferry service to travel from SF to Fort Baker or Sausalito itself.

Howard Levitt, spokesman with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, told the IJ:

“We are forecasting an expansion of visitors to these areas in Marin in the future and this would be a way to get them there.”

Sausalito Mayor Mike Kelly said the proposed service would benefit his city:

“The more we can do to keep tourists on ferries and buses the better. It would get them out of their cars, which many use now to these places in Marin.”

Golden Gate Bridge district general manager Denis Mulligan said:

“The bay is a fabulous venue for transportation, and arguably it is underutilized. I think the dream is to go to Fort Baker and get people across the bay from San Francisco and then onto a shuttle to Muir Woods. We all have the same focus, which is to help (reduce) congestion in Marin County and this may help do that.”

The park service is hoping they can set up a launch site at Fort Mason so visitors can explore exhibits and historical information before traveling to Marin. But merchant associations want to keep the ferry service near Fisherman’s Wharf and its cash-generating tourist attractions and shops.

Troy Campbell, executive director with the Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District, told the Ex:

“In the middle of the wharf is more advantageous,” he said. “We’ve got the infrastructure to deal with thousands of people. We’d hate to see it put anywhere else.”

The park service will explore their options during two upcoming meetings, including one in Sausalito this Thursday. Other locations will be examined through a federal environmental review, expected to be completed by Fall 2013.