- About Us
- Who We Are
Who We Are
The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department administers more than 220 parks, playgrounds, and open spaces, including two outside the city limits-- Camp Mather in Yosemite Valley and Sharp Park in Pacifica, Calif. Our park system includes 25 recreation centers, nine swimming pools, five golf courses and numerous tennis courts, ball diamonds, soccer fields and other sports venues. Included in the department’s responsibilities are the Marina Yacht Harbor, the San Francisco Zoo, and Lake Merced.
Our staff members are diverse, committed and talented recreation and park professionals, from gardeners, foresters, and recreation leaders to park patrol officers, custodians, electricians, painters, and more.
The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department’s Mission is to provide enriching recreational activities, maintain beautiful parks and preserve the environment for the well-being of everyone in our diverse community.
RPD By the Numbers
- 4,113 acres of recreational and open space
- 3,400 acres within San Francisco
- 671 marina slips
- 220 neighborhood parks
- 179 playgrounds and play areas
- 82 recreation centers and clubhouses
- 72 basketball courts and 151 tennis courts
- 59 soccer/playfields (and growing)
- 1 Family Camp
Get to Know Us
Phil Ginsburg | General Manager
Phil Ginsburg is the general manager of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department. With more than 4,100 acres and over 220 parks under its jurisdiction, the Recreation and Park Department stewards some of the most spectacular public spaces in the world, including Golden Gate Park, Coit Tower and the Palace of Fine Arts. Under Phil’s leadership, San Francisco became the first City in the United States where 100% of its residents live within a ten-minute walk of a park. Phil has led his organization through transformational improvements to the public realm and he has made equity and increasing access to public recreation and to nature, the department’s primary objective. Phil has built a financially sustainable model for San Francisco’s park system through ballot advocacy, the strategic use of public-private partnerships and philanthropy, creative revenue strategies, technology and administrative efficiencies. During his tenure, San Francisco has been consistently ranked one of the nation’s top five park systems. In 2019, Phil was appointed to the California State Parks and Recreation Commission by Governor Gavin Newsom.
Toks Ajike | Director of Capital and Planning
As the Director of Capital and Planning, Toks oversees a portfolio of $400 million in park renovations, developments, and acquisitions. Together with community members and park advocates, the Capital and Planning team strives to create and renovate parks that solve social problems and enhance community resilience. During his tenure, Toks has implemented three voter-approved bond programs and a fourth is slated for the ballot in November 2020. In addition to renovating pools, rec centers, neighborhood parks, trails, and our urban forest, Toks and his team have also restored and opened to acclaim the Palace of Fine Arts, Coit Tower, and the award-winning Civic Center Playgrounds.
Eric Andersen | Superintendent of Parks and Open Space
As Superintendent of Parks and Open Space, Eric manages the delivery of landscape and custodial services with 360 permanent staff, caring for 225 parks on 3,500 acres across the City. The departments’ diverse properties include a wide array of parks, landscapes, natural resource areas, and formal gardens. As part of this, he oversees the stewardship of six regional Park Service Areas, Golden Gate Park, and 1,000 acres of natural resource areas and the urban trails program. Therein, Eric directs six specialty horticultural facilities and public gardens, including the San Francisco Botanical Garden, the Japanese Tea Garden, the Conservatory of Flowers and our citywide nursery facilities. He also manages key workforce development programs such as our gardener apprenticeship program, and other alternate worker programs.
Lorraine Banford | Superintendent of Recreation and Community Services
As the Superintendent of Recreation and Community Services, Lorraine leads a division that provides a variety of recreation programs, opportunities and services to San Franciscans via recreation centers, playgrounds, pools, parks, schools, public housing sites and more. With nearly 30 years of public service under her belt, her focus for is on excellence, engagement, and empowerment.
Stacy Bradley | Deputy Director of Planning
As the Deputy Director of Planning, Stacy manages the Planning Unit where she focuses on strategic, long-term, and complex open space challenges. She strives equally to serve existing residents and projected population growth by delivering park improvements, acquisition of new parks, and increased access to all parks. She and her team lead the Department’s acquisition strategy, review shadows from proposed developments near parks, and manage regulatory compliance related to capital and acquisition including consistency with California Environmental Quality Act, Historic Preservation, and the City’s Master Plan: Recreation and Open Space Element and Transportation Element.
Lisa Bransten | Director of Partnerships
Lisa leads a team that interacts with community members, foundations, non-profits and businesses that want to support parks and programming in San Francisco. Her division manages Department-produced, privately funded events and helps the public navigate through the steps of park improvements that are either fully or partially privately funded. The Partnerships Division plays a lead or supporting role in managing a portfolio of more than $100 million in projects that includes the almost fully privately funded renovation of the Golden Gate Park Tennis Center; Let’sPlaySF!-- a public-private partnership to improve San Francisco’s 13 worst playgrounds; and the construction of Francisco Park and India Basin Park. They are also leading the Department’s planning for a citywide celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Golden Gate Park in 2020.
Mike Celeste | Chief Park Ranger
Chief Park Ranger Mike Celeste brings over 30 years in public safety field experience. He spent nine years as Director of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness for the San Mateo County Community College District, was Chief of Public Safety at Skyline College, and ran the San Mateo County Police Academy from 2003 to 2008. He also spent 12 years with the Colma Police Department where he retired as a Police Sergeant. The current priority for the Park Rangers is hiring new rangers, allowing better coverage of the parks and helping to promote their mission of safety and community policing. When a ranger walks through any park in San Francisco, Mike wants the community to feel safe, to be able to approach to ask for any assistance and guidance, and to receive an answer that is informative and delivered professionally and courteously.
Derek Chu | Director of Administration and Finance
As the Director of Administration and Finance, Derek serves the city’s residents, but especially its most needy and vulnerable citizens. With 34 years in federal, state, and local government experience—working in Washington, DC, New York City, and San Francisco—Derek lobbied in DC for federal AIDS demo grant funds and a new fireboat for the Philadelphia harbor; recommended fiscal and program policy for Mayors Ed Koch, David Dinkins, and Frank Jordan; helped build schools in Manhattan and airport terminals in the SF Bay; and leveraged federal welfare funding to aid San Francisco’s children, youth, families, adults, and seniors.
Kin Gee | Human Resources Director
As the Human Resources Director for the past 19 years, Kin manages the daily operations of the Human Resources Division and provides oversight to the Environment, Health and Safety Unit. Of the department’s approximately 2300 employees, 1400 are exempt/as-needed employees. Kin participates as a management representative in the City’s labor negotiations, meeting, conferring and arbitrating in the process; conducts and administers disciplinary actions; investigates and processes grievances; develops departmental recruitment strategies; and promotes and drives organizational initiatives, including Employee Wellness, Employee Recognition and Diversity Inclusion Committee on Equity efforts.
Dennis Kern | Director of Operations
Denny oversees the Department’s Operations, which comprises 10 Divisions and about 85% of its 2,300 employees. These include: Parks & Open Space, which is responsible for the landscaping and custodial staff that maintains 220 parks over 3,400 urban acres; Recreation & Community Services, with our 27 full-service recreation centers and nine aquatic centers; Structural Maintenance comprising over 100 FTE in 10 trades; Urban Forestry managing the estimated 131,000 trees on parkland; Park Rangers with 45 Rangers and dispatchers; Asset Management; Operations Project Management which delivers $15M in contract-based park improvements annually; Infrastructure Performance which provides the QA/QC for all our built environment; Golf & Turf; and the Marina Yacht Harbor which has 671 berths on San Francisco Bay.
Dana Ketcham | Director of Property Management and Permits
Dana oversees the Department’s Permits Division, which facilitates public access to parks by issuing over 70,000 permits annually, including 50,000 athletic permits (at three stadiums); 8,000 picnic permits; 5,000 indoor rentals for parties; and special events such as weddings, film permits, free speech rallies, concerts, and the San Francisco Marathon. Dana also directs the Property Management Division that issues leases, concessions, long-term permits, operating agreements, and partner agreements primarily through use of RFPs. Notable contracts include operating agreements to manage five golf courses, iconic tourist locations and leases relating to restaurants, ice rinks, waterfront properties, event venues, and concession agreements for food, boats, bikes and Segways.
Sarah Madland | Director of Policy and Public Affairs
Sarah and her Policy and Public Affairs team direct government relations, communications, and community affairs, as well as the Department’s volunteer division, which supports over 250,000 hours of volunteer time in our parks each year, a value over $7.5 million to the department. Her team oversees youth environmental education programs that get 5,000 public school kids into our parks each year, learning the value of stewardship; the Cities Connecting Children to Nature Initiative; and the wildly popular, millennial stewardship program called Love Dolores.
Christine Nath | Chief Information Officer
As the Chief Information Officer, Christine leads the Technology Division which manages the department’s technology infrastructure, enterprise and line of business applications, Help Desk support services, and the upcoming Smart Parks Program. With over 20 years in technology – having worked for a technology consulting firm, as well as state and local government – Christine has implemented and managed major enterprise applications and introduced emerging technologies to organizations. With the use of innovative technologies, Christine is focused on helping to make San Francisco an even better place to live, work and play!
Steve Shih | Superintendent of Structural Maintenance
Steve oversees a $20 Million budget for the maintenance and repair of all park infrastructure performed by over 100 skilled craft workers in more than 225 parks. He manages the division’s work order intake/completion/close-out process using its Total Managed Assets (TMA) database system, prioritizing preventive maintenance best management practices to sustain the designed life cycle of infrastructure components throughout our park facilities. Steve also plans and leads organizational development through LEAN management principles by modeling, applying practices to the department’s workflow, and developing LEAN skills among staff.
Staci White | Executive Assistant to the General Manager
Executive Assistant to the General Manager, Staci has worked for the Department for more than 30 years, the last 10 with Phil Ginsburg and his amazing executive staff team.
Meet Neil Fahy: A Camp Mather Treasure
Up at Camp Mather, amongst the towering trees of Yosemite Valley, the crisp, clear waters of the Sierra Mountains and the warmth of the summer sun, there is another natural wonder that draws hundreds of San Francisco families to camp each year.
Neil Fahy, at a spry 92 years, is Rec and Park’s oldest employee and quite possibly its most energetic.
Neil originally joined the Camp Mather staff as a Naturalist back in 1944, worked for Rec and Park until 1960, then returned to Mather as a volunteer in 2008.
This past summer, he was promoted from volunteer to recreation leader, and continued his role in leading a junior naturalist program in partnership with federal park rangers, sharing his wealth of knowledge of natural and cultural history with city kids through nature walks, botany lessons, Miwok cooking demonstrations and geological field trips.
Neil is featured in a recent edition of Rec and Park’s podcast, “I Left My Park in San Francisco,” and shares why he still loves working with kids, his passion for nature, and his secret to staying so youthful. (Hint: it’s a daily scoop of a cold, tasty treat.)
Click to listen