Mountain Lake Trail West & Merchant Marine Cemetery Vista

For the Presidio Trust

Campbell Grading, Inc., built a new quarter-mile section of the Mountain Lake Trail in the southwest corner of the Presidio. The section, which combines trail and wooden boardwalk, connects the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail with the Park Trail.

Along this path, we constructed the Marine Cemetery Vista at the site of the former United States Marine Hospital Cemetery.

Between 1881 and 1912, hundreds of merchant seamen who died at the hospital and could not be sent home were buried there. The hospital later closed, and it was thought that the graves had been moved, so the property was used as a dump site for debris, including toxic materials. When the Presidio was being transferred to the National Park Service decades later, archeologists found that the bodies had never been moved.

Rather than disturb the bodies, the government decided to cover the site with 3 feet of sand and convert it to scenic sand dunes. The memorial overlook is marked with a granite plaque honoring the forgotten mariners.