Golden Gate NRA receives $35 million for Alcatraz infrastructure project

Funded by the Great American Outdoors Act, project includes wharf restoration

Last edited 03/16/2023
A view of the dock at Alcatraz Island with the cell house and lighthouse in the background

News Release Date: August 23, 2022

Golden Gate National Recreation Area will receive approximately $35 million in Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) funding for an infrastructure project on Alcatraz Island, the park’s most visited site. The project will repair and seismically strengthen the concrete wharf on Alcatraz Island, a contributing feature of the Alcatraz Island National Historic Landmark District.

“Generations of park visitors, locally and internationally, have enjoyed the experience at Alcatraz Island. This iconic San Francisco attraction and important historic site, receives over a million visitors annually,” said Golden Gate National Recreation Area Acting Superintendent Carey Feierabend. “GGNRA was one of the first of its kind to bring a national park experience to an urban audience and is a driver of tourism and support to the San Francisco Bay Area economy. Ongoing investments in critical infrastructure and operations will allow the park to continue to tell important stories at Alcatraz and throughout the park’s 82,000 acres." Alcatraz Island was an active prison until the 1960s when it was closed, before becoming part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 1972. The Alcatraz concrete wharf has not been rehabilitated since it was constructed in 1939. The island, long known for its dangerous ocean currents and exposure to the elements, has had severe impacts on its aging infrastructure.

Stabilization of the island’s point of access will ensure that visitors, NPS staff, concessionaires, and park partners have consistent, safe access to the island. Park office and visitor services, partly managed by park partners, including restrooms, the dock office and store, interpretive exhibits, accessible site furnishings, and the accessible tram, will also benefit from the project. 

This project builds on major previous investments the park has successfully undertaken to preserve key resources and address priority safety concerns on the island including improvements to the cellhouse. The wharf project will allow uninterrupted visitor access to Alcatraz facilities during construction and completion of the project will facilitate future rehabilitation projects on the island. This project will also include improvements to the Finger Pier, funded in part by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

In 2021, 13.7 million park visitors spent an estimated $863 million in local gateway regions while visiting Golden Gate National Recreation Area. These expenditures supported a total of 8,180 jobs, $546 million in labor income, $833 million in value added, and $1.2 billion in economic output in local gateway economies surrounding Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

GAOA, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and other construction funding sources are part of a concerted effort to address the extensive deferred maintenance and repair backlog in national parks. Supported by revenue from energy development, GAOA’s Legacy Restoration Fund provides up to $1.3 billion per year for five years to make significant enhancements in national parks to ensure their preservation and provide opportunities for recreation, education, and enjoyment for current and future visitors. 

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