Constructed on the western shore of Lake Merced in 1934, the Pacific Rod and Gun Club was shuttered in 2015. And with the impact of eight decades of skeet, trap and rifle shooting on the 14-acre site having since been remediated and the soil restored, at a cost of over $20 million, San Francisco’s Recreation and Parks Department has drawn their plans for the site and an Impact Report for the proposed redevelopment is about to be drafted.

As envisioned, the new Lake Merced West recreation facility at 520 John Muir Drive would offer a wide array of activities to the public, with new picnic areas and lawns; a ropes course, skate park, multi-use courts, and playground; a new boathouse, dock and soft landing spot for paddleboarders and kayakers; and a new community building, patio and restaurant as well.

And in terms of timing, the City is aiming to have the Impact Report for the project approved and certified by mid next year (2022), which would then clear the way for building to commence.

30 thoughts on “The Plans for Re-Activating the Western Shore of Lake Merced”
  1. Great plan – this area has so much underused potential! Also wish Park & Rec would move the multi-use path in from the curb to run along the lake with some trees/landscaping to buffer the trail, like most cities with active waterfront parks. Austin’s hike-and-bike trail is a great example.

  2. People in SF take for granted how amazing our parks are. The latest tech boom and subsequent budget increase has provided a huge number of park upgrades all over the city. Parks and Rec seems to be a reasonably well run organization. I have no doubt they will nail this one, too.

    1. Can’t agree with your assessment of Rec and Parks. We have many decrepit facilities that should be improved before embarking on big new projects.

      1. Agreed 110% – I live near GG Park, and there’s so much basic maintenance that needs to be done – things as simple as keeping bushes trimmed off walks, fixing leaking/broken sprinklers, and eradicating invasive weeds – let alone major projects that go wanting.

        I will give credit for the redesign and rebuild of the eastern entrance to GG Park though, along Stanyan. Did a really good job with that.

      2. Let me put in another way: the rate of improvement has accelerated significantly IMO. I’m sure you can find a decrepit facility, but the the list of recently completed or currently underway projects feels much higher than 10 years ago.

  3. The PRGC is a historical land mark and should be preserved as such. Where is Aron Peskin when you need him?

    1. In fact, as a nod to the site’s history and cultural landscape, the historic Skeet Field 4 will be retained, rehabilitated to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards, and repurposed as a picnic area, as shown, adjacent to the new playground, on the site plan above.

    1. While the remediation plans for the site, which have since been completed, called for excavating up to 4 feet below ground surface (bgs) to remove the contaminated soil, some parts of the shoreline were actually excavated up to 10.5 feet bgs and the Water Board has concluded that there is “minimal risk to human health” left at the site and “the remaining sediment has been shown to pose no significant risk to ecological receptors.” But we don’t have the figures for how much lead was actually removed (or remains in the lake bed).

      1. Not to mention how often “minimal” is a code word for “zero is too great a risk”.
        (Sometimes the cynicism is deserved…how often ?? “Minimally”, of course! :))

        1. At the same time, you have too many examples like the bungled “cleanup” at Hunters Point, so caution IS warranted

          1. My plan is to not give water from Lake Merced to my children to drink. I bet we’ll be ok.

          2. Hunters Point used to deal with actual nuclear fissile material from naval reactors, among toxic other materials with varying levels of radioactivity. That type of cleanup is vastly more complex than cleaning up lead pellets from shotgun shells.

  4. That’s a lot of parking. Be nice if this came with upgrades to transit instead of investing so heavily in car infrastructure.

    Looks like nobody at SFMTA heard a big new park was coming, since they’re making it harder to take Muni here than ever (after leaving this a transit desert for more than a year with the suspension of the 57). Now the 57 will split into the 57 and 58, and you’ll have to take both buses to transfer here from Muni rail. Or transfer at Daly City BART, but then you not only pay for two systems, you get hit with the San Mateo County BART surcharge (and can’t use a Muni/BART pass). This needs to be rethought before the park opens.

    1. Agree with you 100% / they need to extend the L taraval up sloat or loop it around lake Merced west’s or east side to Daly City and Pacifica and get a public transit feed out here and to the malls in Daly City to get cars off the road. Less parking and more mass transit LRV solutions. No-Daly city free pass on transit they need to step up to the plate..

    2. Agreed; even in the absence of transit I can’t imagine they’d need this many parking spaces for so small a park

    3. If this was a park in the urban core of the city then I would agree with you. But I’m not kidding myself into thinking that MUNI will ever be able to offer reliable service in this far corner of the San Francisco, or at least not anytime soon. Muni has barely been able to restore rail service on its core “metro” lines, and that’s after an attempt last August that resulted in spectacular failure. The reality is that most people hauling kayaks, and other recreational equipment, (or small children) will be using cars to get to this park.

  5. How different my life would have been had the Gun club shut down a year earlier when I was looking for a home, but was turned off that area by the noise.

    1. Isn’t this an SFPUC project just being run by Parks? Since the PUC owns Lake Merced, aren’t they paying for it?

  6. I love to see this but we need a commitment from the city to spend money on regular park maintenance. How many parks, medians and other public outdoor spaces are newly built or renovated only to be neglected and soon fall into disrepair. Take a look at South Park for example.

  7. The plants to be used in this area are not listed. Lake Merced is a native wildlife area so priority should be given to using native San Francisco flora that will support native pollinators and other insects and arthropods and birds and other wildlife that historically uses Lake Merced. This should be carefully planned rather than just using exotic introduced plants,

  8. All the lead that was shot INTO the lake remains. And just saying – I lived across the street from the gun club while the “remediation” was going on. I have never witnessed such an incredible waste of tax-payers’ money in my life. The soil was moved several times, from pile to pile, using the most inefficient method possible – then, moved to another pile, and loaded into trucks using the same method. Not once did I see a bulldozer, which would have cut the job time in HALF (I used to run heavy equipment back in the day). They also rebuilt the gun club as it was, using union contractors just to let it sit and become what it is today. What a waste! I can’t wait for construction to begin only to be millions over budget, and a year over due.

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