National Park

National Park
Once the Native Americans had been escorted off the island the government knew a decision must be made about the fate of Alcatraz Island. In the years between 1969-1970 a private financier wanted to buy Alcatraz and make it into an amusement park, but for some reason was not able to make the purchase. The government finally decided in 1972 to make Alcatraz into a National Park. When Alcatraz was made a National Park there were hopes to restore the island. Many theorize that much of Alcatraz’s old fortifications are buried under land fill.

Alcatraz was opened for public tours in 1973. The National Park Services built a museum and bookstore within existing buildings. The NPS still wants to restore the rest of Alcatraz and open it for public access. Today you can find audio tours of Alcatraz available along with guides ready to answer questions or give a gathered audience their information on Alcatraz.

Alcatraz is home to many different plants and some animals. Alcatraz is most famous for its seagulls which would have taken over the island if it weren’t for the heavy population of visitors. The only mammal living on Alcatraz is the deer mouse, and the only amphibian on the island is the California Slender Salamander.

Those Birds!
During my latest visit, the number of seagulls that have taken over the island is incredible. Be sure to wear a hat (that can be washed).

Young seagulls.

Along with Alcatraz’s prestige there is also an element of sadness. Alcatraz at one time was the most advanced Military Fort, but within years had become obsolete. A once great prison is now a crumbling construction. A strategic point in San Francisco Bay burned and vandalized. Although Alcatraz only seems to be getting more decayed there is hope. Now that Alcatraz is a National Park the Park Services can care for the island. Hopefully, with the help of financial supporters, they will stop the destruction, and also reconstruction can begin to bring back Alcatraz’s glory.

Check out the National Parks Service‘s Web Page!