Greener Cruising to Alcatraz
Sign warning that aiding in the escape of prisoners will result in imprisonment - approaching the Alcatraz dock coming from San Francisco.
I finally made it to San Francisco to ride the streetcars, to enjoy the breathless views of the coast, to do some hugging - I mean hiking amongst the sequoias at Muir Woods and of course, to see the infamous Alcatraz. We took the ferry boat over to see the island that is known for its scarfaced inmates. Of course, there in the lobby at the dock were signs advertising the greening efforts by Alcatraz Cruises under their corporate management plan called, Respect Our Planet. Some of the more obvious commercial items included the sale of reusable water bottles and posters printed on recycled paper. Their website also says that the coffee is organic and the pastries come from a local bakery that specializes in all-natural and whole grain ingredients (which could technically mean lots of things). We also noticed that they sold Terrapass Climate Change Chocolate right at the cash register. As we waited to load the ferry you could see pictures of the air-wind-diesel-powered boat that they say will be in use by the fall of 2008. Warren actually told us about these odd-looking creatures back in 2006.
Alcatraz ferry boats expected in fall 2008.
While in the prison there wasn’t too much info about the further greening efforts, however there was some nice history on the gardening that happens on the island as you can see in the photo below.
History of the Greening of Alcatraz Island.
It started back in the 1860s when the island was still a barren rock with a fort on it. Soldiers and their families started bringing soil over from Angel Island and the mainland and planted gardens. It continued and even some prisoners participated. Today, volunteers still come to the island to garden and maintain the beautiful plant life. The short write-up also notes that only a small lawn is watered on the island, while the rest relies on natural precipitation. Parts of the island were roped off because they were bird-nesting areas. Call me naïve, but I honestly hadn’t considered the gardening and nesting implications of Alcatraz before my visit. It was a pleasant green surprise.
Gardens at Alcatraz.
On an aside, I saw cars with bumper stickers that said, Boycott Alcatraz Cruises. Check out their issues with this non-union company that was awarded the exclusive ferry contract for 10 years. This visit to Alcatraz, all history and prison aside, was worth it to see the views of San Francisco and the gorgeous plant life on the Rock. They are really reusing this Island to its fullest (extending its life cycle!) as a National Park.
All photos taken by the Author during her stay in San Francisco. See the Alcatraz Cruises website here.