Noe Valley Voice July-August 2010

Big Plans for Little Park

By Heather World

You can help shape the future of southern Noe Valley's steep Billy Goat Hill on Wednesday, July 14, when Recreation and Park Department officials present a proposed $50,000 trail improvement plan at the Upper Noe Valley Recreation Center.

Neighbors organized by the Friends of Billy Goat Hill have been meeting at the 3.5-acre park every three months since March 2009, to pull weeds, trim bushes, and make minor repairs to winding paths. Partially as a result of the group's attentions, Billy Goat Hill last fall was allotted a share of bond funds approved by voters in 2008 for trail restoration.

The goal is to create a trail that allows park users to walk from the bottom of the hill along 30th and Laidley streets through golden grasses and past craggy rocks to the scrubby plateau on Beacon Street, says Lisa Ghotbi. Ghotbi and her husband coordinate the Friends' quarterly cleanups, as well as weekly weed-pulling sessions on the hill.

"The lower trail is too steep, it's slippery and unsafe, particularly during the wet season," says Ghotbi. "The whole trail will be changed down below so that it's much safer and so there's drainage."

Barring unforeseen problems or pushback from the community, the improvement project will start in the fall, she says.

Those who prefer to see more immediate results can don sturdy shoes and join the Friends on Saturday, July 31, at their regular summer cleanup. Meet at either the top or the bottom of the park, at 9 a.m. Work will continue until noon. Gloves and tools will be supplied by Rec and Park, says Ghotbi.

"Come to any part of the park and you'll see us," she says.

Meanwhile, Friends will provide park updates on the group's blog, which is full of pictures of the native plants and wildflowers found on the hill. A flower garden planted in January at the Beacon Street entrance is in full bloom and is visited by bumblebees, butterflies, and neighbors on their daily excursions, Ghotbi says. She notes that the cleanups and plantings occur under the direction of gardeners from Rec and Park's Natural Areas Program.

The July 14 community meeting will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m., at the rec center, located at 295 Day Street near Sanchez Street. For information, visit or call Ghotbi at 407-7281.