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SAN FRANCISCO-The Presidio Trust board of directors has unanimously adopted the long-awaited general plan that will guide the 1500-acre former Army base’s conversion into a self-sufficient national park.

Created by Congress in 1996, the Presidio Trust is charged with preserving and enhancing the park’s natural, historic and scenic resources while becoming financially self-sufficient by 2013. The Final Presidio Trust Management Plan is a blueprint for making it happen.

The plan aims to increase the amount of open space in the Presidio, reduce the amount of building space, and restore forests, enhance wetlands and protect native species. Total costs for the plan over 30 years are projected to be $550 million.

Trust spokesman Ron Sonenshine compares the plan to a city or county general plan, emphasizing that most of the detailed proposals relating to specific sites and buildings within the Presidio need to be worked out in the coming months and years.

One issue the trust will be examining in the next several months, according to Sonenshine, is the possible installation of a hotel in a 90-year-old structure at Crissy Field, an idea that has been attacked by environmental groups.

Sonenshine says the hotel idea, like most proposals, would be subject to a rigorous financial analysis as well as general feasibility studies and public hearings. He adds it would probably be from four to six months before the trust begins holding public hearings on specific proposals for the Presidio.

Among the other issues the trust will have to address is how to deal with the thousands of Monterey pine, cypress and eucalyptus trees planted more than a century ago in the Presidio to shield the area from the ocean wind.

He adds that the Presidio currently spends about $1.5 million each year to take care of its forest, and studies are under way to figure out which species of trees grow best in which areas. The trust must also determine what to do with approximately 470 historic buildings on the former Army base.

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