SF's historic Aquatic Pier rusting and crumbling away, groups rally to save it

"It needs to be replaced."

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Sunday, July 4, 2021
SF's historic Aquatic Pier rusting and crumbling away
The National Park Service is partnering with groups trying to save Aquatic Pier, raising money for a vision study and public survey about its future.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Many in San Francisco are eagerly awaiting the return of fireworks on the Fourth of July. The city's waterfront is always the best place to watch the big show. But one landmark in Aquatic Park is off limits to big crowds until officials determine a fix for Aquatic Pier.

Aquatic Park might be the best seat in the city to watch the Blue Angels dazzle during fleet week in October.

And for fireworks on July Fourth.

"It's up to the fog if we have fireworks," said Alisa Baker from North Beach.

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But for a while now, Aquatic Pier has been off limits to big crowds on the Fourth.

Fisherman Ethan Macrohon shows us why he doesn't dare lean against the Pier's railing anymore.

"From the looks of it, it's rusted, it's older than myself I guess," said Macrohon.

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Aquatic Pier, one of San Francisco's scenic treasures is rusting and crumbling away.

"Here, you can see some early stages, other pieces have come off completely," said National Parks Ranger Morgan Smith.

Smith says the pier is still safe for the public. But most of the the west side, not so much. It's now fenced off after decades of abuse from salt water and the weather.

"This pier was created in 1934. It's ninety years old. That's a long lifetime for a structure like this," said Smith.

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Aquatic Pier, owned by the National Park Service is 1400 feet long and curves into the bay at the foot of Van Ness Avenue. Repairing it may be impossible.

"It needs to be replaced," said Darlene Plumtree CEO of San Francisco Maritime National Park Association.

The price tag to replace the pier could cost millions. It's still unclear where funding would come from.

"It will take a coalition," said Smith.

The NPS is now partnering with groups trying to save Aquatic Pier, raising money for a vision study and public survey about its future.

The survey can be found here.

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But others have their own ideas.

"I don't see why they wouldn't charge people to come here, use money to fix it up," said Robert Vargas from San Jose.

Caretakers say all options are on the table to save this piece of history.