San Francisco park to transform into ropes course

The city of San Francisco is preparing to transform one of the city's parks.

San Francisco's Recreation and Parks Department is sharing a new vision for
McLaren Park. Officials have formed a public-private partnership with Outward Bound to transform a part of the park into a ropes course. 

"There is nothing more important than giving kids who live in cities an opportunity to get outside to take some risk and to connect with nature,” said Phil Ginsburg with San Francisco's Recreation and Parks Department.

A ropes course is like a three-dimensional obstacle course, similar to one already opeated by Outward Bound in the city. Outward Bound's Nettie Pardue says the course is an invaluable tool to teach kids just how much they can achieve. 

"The point of a ropes course is team building, relationships, communication, trust and really bringing together, maybe a classroom, to be able to learn and to work together," said Pardue.

The course will be just uphill from Visitation Walley Middle School.

School counselor Chris Dale says his students will be able to see the ropes course from the school yard. He plans on bringing the students there to work with Outward Bound.

He says the tween years are a time when students are deciding who they want to be and a ropes course can help them define themselves going forward.

"Challenging yourself, going out on a limb, maybe taking a trust fall or working together as a team to figure out a course, is all stuff that, I don't know. It's just remarkable to see kids work through those kinds of puzzles," said Dale.

The city says students will be able to participate through their schools and prices will be reduced to make sure everyone in the city has access.

In fact, the city says putting this project in the city's southeastern neighborhood was no accident. "This is an equity initiative for us. This course is located here in McLaren Park and the southeast very intentionally," said Ginsburg.

The deal has been inked, planning is already underway, and the ropes course should be ready for play in May.