General Information About Border Field State Park

The Border Field State Park provides picnic areas, barbecues, horse corrals, and scenic views of the beach and estuary along a 1.5-mile stretch of beach and inland trails. Activities commonly enjoyed within the area include hiking, horseback riding, photography and bird watching. Because of hazardous circumstances such as rip currents and lack of lifeguard service, swimming and wading in the park area is not encouraged.

Monitoring of the United States-Mexico border within this area began in 1850 when delegations began such surveying of the border two years after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed on February 2, 1848 to officially end the U.S.-Mexico War. Border Patrol in the area was first established in 1904 to monitor the flow of Chinese labor workers who were entering the United States via Mexico as well as the estimated 890,000 Mexicans who crossed the border during the Mexican Revolution. In 1929, the U.S. Navy purchased the land for usage as a machine gun and airborne gunnery range and named it “Border Field.” Border Field was deactivated by the Navy in 1961; ten years later, President Nixon announced that 372 acres of land in the area would be developed for recreational use as part of his “Legacy of Parks” program, leading to the establishment of Border Field State Park. In 1982, the estuary in the area became part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Estuarine Sanctuary Program and was designated a National Estuarine Research Reserve; the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (TRNERR) was designated a “Wetland of International Importance” by the UN’s Ramsar Convention of Wetlands in 2005.

The Park unfortunately continues to be plagued my major environmental issues, including sewage contamination and frequent flooding from urban and storm water runoff. A series of storms that battered San Diego in 2005 led to sediment flowing from those storms to change the topography of that area, and as a result, the Monument Mesa portion of the park becomes inaccessible to public vehicles for typically 5 months of the year. The park continues to find a solution to and funds for the issue- costs that may exceed $4 million. On the bright side, the sewage contamination problem has improved in recent years thanks to international partnerships and the development of the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant. The growth of the treatment plant has prevented sewage-contaminated flows from occurring during the dry season, and the TRNERR estuary area tends to be one of the cleanest coastal wetlands in the region.

Friendship Park

Located right on the border, the Border Field Park’s “Friendship Park” area is a dedication to friendly relations across the border between the United States and Mexico, which is the world’s most crossed country border. While the U.S.-Mexico border is frequently portrayed by the media as an area riddled by crime and violence, the friendly encounters between Americans and Mexicans in this park portray a different image of the relations between the neighbors. Friendly meetings between citizens of the two countries began in 1849, when the U.S.-Mexico Boundary Commission met the area that is now Border Field Park following the end of the U.S.-Mexico War. Ever since, the park has been characterized by good will and an absence of violence.

Today, led by local architect James Brown, the park is working to establish itself as a truly bi-national venue. They have created a petition called “Let Them Hug” as a means of presenting that objective and plan to present it to San Diego Border Patrol with the hopes of demonstrating the viability of a truly bi-national park. More information about the petition can be found here.

More Information About the Park:

General Information- https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=664

History of the TRNERR- http://trnerr.org/about/history/

Planning a Visit to Border Field State Park- http://trnerr.org/plan_a_visit/borderfield/

Friendship Park official website- http://www.friendshippark.org/