Standing on the east side of the Bernal Cut and looking at the Richland Street bridge spanning 235 feet to the other side, it’s hard to imagine these as contiguous rolling hills.  

In the mid-1800s our city, “Yerba Buena” as it was called then, was a part of Mexico.  The Spanish Colonials in the Mexican-Californio government divided up the territory into massive land parcels, and often granted them to one individual. Promises to secure land for the indigenous people were broken. Instead the resulting ranches, such as Rancho San Miguel, Bernal and DeHaro, began legacies of power and influence still seen today.

Over time, non-native grasses (another colonial invader), accidentally imported on the hooves of these settlers’ cattle, pushed out the hillsides’ original grasses.  And soon after, houses covered the cattle lands, and the city grew up in the name of commerce and opportunity. 

Today we are changing San Francisco’s landscape yet again.  The Bernal Cut Restoration Project fights climate change by planting trees, rebuilding healthy soils and restoring the drought-tolerant native habitat. Our goal is to transform the Bernal Cut once again for the generations who will stand on this hillside after us.