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The Golden Gate National Recreation Area

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The Golden Gate National Park

The History Of The National Park

Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), a unit of the National Park Service, was established by Congress in 1972 as part of a trend to make national park resources more accessible to urban populations and bring “parks to the people.” Alcatraz Island was included within the boundaries of the new urban recreation area because of its unique natural resources and human histories.

The National Park Service opened Alcatraz to the public for the first time in October 1973. Visitors had never been allowed on the Island before, and the response was overwhelming – more than 50,000 people visited Alcatraz during the first year it was open. Historians estimated this was more people than had set foot on the Island during all of its previous recorded history.

The history of Alcatraz continues: American Indians return each October and November to hold a sunrise ceremony commemorating their 1969 occupation of the former prison; the Alcatraz Lighthouse, oldest in the west, still sends out its beam; gulls and cormorants nest each spring on the rocky cliffs as they have for centuries; and the Island’s twin foghorns still send out their throaty roars as summer fogs creep in through the Golden Gate to cloak Alcatraz Island in mist and mystery.

Learn more about the Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Learn more about Alcatraz as a National Park Service site

Learn more about becoming an Alcatraz Volunteer

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