World Urban Parks Legacy Award

The new Legacy Award of World Urban Parks recognises past leaders who impacted parks and park management.

Brian O'Neill - General Superintendent Golden Gate National Parks

Brian O'Neill is the 2017 recipient of the new World Urban Parks Legacy Award recognising past leaders who impacted parks and park management. Brian, now deceased, was the former US National Parks Service General Superintendent of the 80,000 acre Golden Gate National Parks in the heart of the San Francisco Bay area.  He was instrumental in the creation of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and worked on key projects, including making Alcatraz a major tourist destination. Brian was also outstanding in engaging the public, volunteers and funding, and influenced a number of park agencies around the world. The award was conferred at the Greater and Greener International Forum day on 2 August hosted by City Parks Alliance and World Urban Parks. A copy of the Presentation on Brian made at the Forum is here.

Brian was a founding force in the formation of the 80,000 acre Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Brian built support through community driven initiatives that brought the value and wonder of parks into people’s lives - innovative programs now regarded as models by parks organizations worldwide.

His efforts in building supportive park communities is evidenced by the contributions of over 20,000 volunteers in the Golden Gate Parks each year, the sprawling network of park friends, and the strength of its nonprofit partner the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

Brian described his role as a “friend-raiser” for the Golden Gate National Parks.

Greg Moore noted those friends “…range from one end of the Golden Gate National Parks to the other; from northern Marin to southern San Mateo County; from San Francisco to the over 390 national park sites across America; from city halls to houses of Congress; from youth environmental leaders to acclaimed conservationists; from the Bay Area to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and points beyond”.

This first Legacy Award is a tribute to Brian O’Neill from his friends in World Urban Parks