Regulars at Golden Gate Park’s largest body of water, Stow Lake, may have noticed that the waterfall that graces the island in the middle stopped running a couple of months ago. Then, a few weeks ago, the reservoir at the top of the island’s Strawberry Hill began getting lower and lower.
And then last week, the bridges to the island were roped off, blocking access to the island’s regular joggers.
Not to fear, the island is not being disassembled, and access should be restored by the end of this week, according to San Francisco Recreation and Park Department Director of Operations Denny Kern.
The problem originally began when the two pumps that had been powering the waterfall, called Huntington Falls, broke. This lead park officials to realize that the reservoir, which feeds the waterfall and much of the rest of the irrigation system through the central portion of the park, had not been cleaned since 1989. The muck and mire that had collected in the reservoir over the decades was clogging the pumps.
So the reservoir — which is well over 100 years old — was allowed to evaporate for a few weeks, and then officials brought in heavy equipment to scoop out the muck at the bottom of the reservoir. With the large equipment climbing and descending the island all day, they decided it was necessary to block public access temporarily during working hours, Kern said.
The project should be completed by Friday. One of the falls’ pumps has been fixed, so once the reservoir is cleaned and filled, water should be falling away once more, Kern said.