On the Boards

Muir Woods Sustainable Access Plan

Mill Valley, California

Planning the future preservation of a national monument

Muir Woods National Monument is home to some of the few remaining old-growth coast redwoods and Sequoia sempervirens, which can live for more than 2,000 years and grow to more than 300 feet tall. The forest and surrounding watershed are part of a diverse ecosystem that play a role in attracting over 1 million visitors annually. However, this fragile ecosystem is threatened by overcrowding, historic pressures, urban development, and the diversion of water from Redwood Creek. In response, the National Park Service brought in a team to develop a new plan for environmental protection.

Design Workshop’s team of experts created a new sustainable access plan that would help alleviate growing pressures on the natural environment. By redesigning visitor amenities, pedestrian paths, and parking areas, the plan works to enhance natural resource protection at the park. A key opportunity for improvement was the entry plaza where the team created a design that welcomes visitors while integrating functional sustainable strategies. The new plaza will incorporate low-impact stormwater runoff collection and treatment, integrate reclaimed redwood planking to reduce erosion, and create natural boundaries to prevent disturbance of nearby vegetation. Not only will the integration of the plan enhance the visitor experience, it will also help protect Muir Woods for future generations.

Services Provided: Landscape Architecture, Stakeholder Facilitation, Recreation Planning, SITES Certification


National Park Service


Jacobs Engineering, Ware Architecture and Engineering, Sherwood Design Engineers