Modern Context and Preservation
Since 1972, the National Park Service has maintained the island and managed its tourist operations. A ticket to visit Alcatraz includes a ferry ride from San Francisco’s Pier 33 to the island and an audio tour of the cell hours. Audio tours are narrated by former correctional officers and offered in eleven different languages. Visitors can also attend scheduled presentations and tours to learn more about specific topics, such as the island’s gardens and infamous escape attempts. However, these narrowly focused presentations are only offered a few times per week. The island is open to visitors for both daytime and evening tours. Alcatraz has gained international recognition as a popular and fascinating tourist site, and according to the National Park Service, approximately one million tourists visit Alcatraz Island each year.
Alcatraz is currently in good condition because the National Park Service has invested time and effort to ensure the preservation of the island’s structures and wildlife. However, due to its location in the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz is subject to harsh sea winds and constant humidity, both of which contribute to gradual erosion of the island’s structures. The National Park Service will have to continue to monitor the condition of the island’s structures in order to ensure their protection from erosion so that the island can remain open for future tourism.
In the future, Alcatraz’s structures and wildlife could be affected by rising sea levels resulting from global warming. In order to protect the island from the risks associated with global warming, the National Park Service will have to work with the United States government to advocate for policies aimed at curtailing the negative effects of climate change.