SAN FRANCISCO –San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg has been elected to chairperson of the California State Park and Recreation Commission.
Ginsburg was unanimously elected to the position by his fellow California State Parks and Recreation Commissioners at their March 3 meeting. Ginsburg was appointed to the California State Parks and Recreation Commission by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019 and reappointed in 2022. He previously served as vice chairperson of the Commission.
Ginsburg, who has led SF Rec and Parks since 2009, will continue to bring his expertise in overseeing one of the most innovative park systems in the country to the California State Park and Recreation Commission. The commission is responsible for approving plans and establishing policies of state parks; guiding the director of state parks in the administration, protection, and development of California’s park system; and recommending a comprehensive recreation policy for the state.
“Parks are having a moment, both in San Francisco and across California. Spending time in nature is key to our physical health, our mental well-being, and the health of our communities. I’m honored to be elected chairperson of a commission devoted to preserving these treasures and ensuring access and meaningful recreation for everyone,” Ginsburg said.
Boasting more than 220 parks, including world-class destinations such as Coit Tower, Golden Gate Park, and the Palace of Fine Arts, SF Rec and Parks has been consistently ranked one of the nation's top five park systems. In 2017, San Francisco became the first city in the U.S. where 100 percent of residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park.
Since first being appointed to lead SF Rec and Parks 14 years ago by then-Mayor Gov. Newsom, Ginsburg has led the department through transformational improvements to the public realm and made equity and increased access to recreational opportunities the department’s primary goal. In addition, Ginsburg has created a financially sustainable model for San Francisco parks that incorporates ballot advocacy, public-private partnerships, philanthropy, revenue strategies, and tech and administrative upgrades.
Prior to leading SF Rec and Parks, Ginsburg served as chief of staff under then-Mayor Gov. Newsom from 2006 to 2008; director of the San Francisco Department of Human Resources from 2004 to 2006; and deputy city attorney in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office from 2000 to 2004. Ginsburg was an associate and partner at Carroll, Burdick and McDonough from 1993 to 2000. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.