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Karen’s favorite walks and why she supports Walk SF

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Walk SF Board Member Profile: Karen Rhodes

Like many of our members, Karen Rhodes considers walking to be key to her daily health and happiness. And Karen takes walking in San Francisco to another level – seeking out the most unique and beautiful off-the-beaten-path places to explore on foot. She’s become a fount of knowledge as a result, and we’re lucky to have her as a dedicated Board Member and a volunteer, helping design Walk SF’s annual Peak2Peak fundraiser walk!

Karen is also working with our WalkLab team of volunteers to create Walk SF’s exciting new ‘Golden City Odyssey’ walk, which launches in April. Karen’s passion for walking led her to join Walk SF’s Board, help create the Crosstown Trail, serve on the Board at Bay Area Ridge Trail, and become a member of SF’s Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Advisory Committee

We caught up with Karen recently to learn more about her love of walking and of Walk SF!

What are your favorite places to walk in San Francisco, Karen?  Wherever I am walking at the moment! I especially love secret treasures such as the Visitacion Valley Greenway and nearby McLaren Park, with its 3-mile Philosopher’s Way, and my own Bernal Heights neighborhood, with its 50+ public stairways. I’m creating a map of every single stairway!

What do you love most about walking in San Francisco? It engages my spirit, my senses, my heart, and my mind, my body. And it motivates me to give back! I love working in a community to create sustainable, inviting, and equitable civic space.

Why did you get involved with Walk SF? I discovered Walk SF while pursuing an interest in urbanism, trying to understand how city dwellers interact with the built environment. Right now, the urgent actions we must take on climate and social justice will come from cities, where people have to figure

out how to work for the common good. For me, Walk SF works at the very heart of these challenges.

We’re so grateful to hear you recently named Walk SF as a beneficiary in your will! What inspired you to make this decision? As I was working on my will, I realized the upside of this sort of depressing task is thinking about the charities I love and want to support after I’m gone. Naming Walk SF as a beneficiary was an easy choice since it will help build the kind of future I want to support for the city I love. It’s important to me that Walk SF’s pedestrian advocacy continues long after I’m gone so that future generations will benefit. 

Interested in leaving the lasting gift of safe streets? Email to learn more about our planned giving program.

Photo credit: Cambria Minott