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Letter to the Editor: Fix the Road Into Border Field State Park

Why is there money for a new border fence but none to fix the road into Border Field State Park? It's our land, so why can't people visit year-round?

I'm frustrated that I am not able to visit .

As someone new to the area, at first I thought how lucky we are that we have such a park, and then how lucky we are that the park is getting a facelift.

My frustration grows as I read that this park is not only getting a facelift, but a new fence on the border at the ocean, while money to fix the road to the park is not available.

Does the park service really believe that we’d rather have picnic sites and turf than a road?

This park has a lovely stretch of beach, unspoiled and removed from the helicopter noise of the beach north of the river, but is basically off-limits to U.S. citizens because a variety of government agencies are not working together to plan to fix the road. News of park renovations and the new fence is scarce and government websites are little help.

I admit that there is a lot about the agencies involved that I don't understand. The Border Patrol has eliminated binational accesss to the popular Monument Mesa or Friendship Park in spite of pleas from the community and our elected officials. We have state parks renovating the park that is closed a large part of the year.

Clearly there is money for fences, tables and turf, but not for road repairs?!

There is no mention of the cost for the current renovation, nor are there illustrations or information regarding public input on the California State Park website.

It is beginning to feel like we’ve lost a park, and the goodwill that the park stood for.

Border Field State Park has managed to stay off the list of state park closures but we can't have access to it because of the road. I understand that the road floods when it rains, but the road is closed for months every year. Service reductions have limited vehicle access to the park; however, the park remains accessible to pedestrians, bicyclists, and equestrians

Why doesn’t the state just remove the gate, allow cars to park in the lot, and have beach access? What would be the harm? Walking almost two miles to gain access to the beach isn’t a reasonable option for the very young and our seniors, who can’t easily walk that distance. I believe that the public is entitled to better and more consistent access. 

Border Field State Park is an important wildlife habitat within the .

Managing agencies are California State Parks, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). In addition, several regional agencies and local municipalities share ownership and management responsibilities at the Reserve.

It would seem that these agencies may jointly be responsible for public access. I think that each agency should have a plan for appropriating a portion of the funds necessary to make the roadway improvements for public access so that we can enjoy the new park renovations.

Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve’s website remarks about the park’s facelift:

”We think this will attract more people to Border Field State Park, resulting in more people falling in love with the estuary and more advocates for its protection and further restoration. Unfortunately, until we can find $4 million to raise the entrance road, even this renovated Monument Mesa will not be accessible to the pubic by vehicle for part of the year due to flooding.”

They are not going to “find” the money. They are going to need to plan for it and budget the money.

The Border Patrol should share in funding the road work. They were able to find $4.3 million to extend a nearly quarter-mile barrier 300 feet into the Pacific Ocean and remake one of the more scenic spots on the border.

They took Friendship Park and created a no man’s land between two fences, changing the look and feel of this park. It seems only right that they give something back.

The public has been patient too long. I suggest that all the involved government agencies meet to make a plan to identify funding sources and address the roadway improvements to provide year-round access to our state park and our coastline. We’d like more information posted about decisions made that impact this park. We want year-round access to enjoy the views and the beach in our special corner of the world.

Got something you want to tell IB Patch and the community about? Send your letter to the editor to khari.johnson@patch.com

Nancyib March 07, 2012 at 03:16 PM
I agree! I have a friend visiting from Washington and on her bucket list to do while here in IB was visit Border Field State Park - if we could get in. It is now a laughing subject with us as she visits each year and I think we've been able to get in 1 or 2 times in 10 years. It is sad and WAS such a great park.
Jack Blackburn March 07, 2012 at 11:19 PM
The flooded piece of road is caused by a dip and higher ground between it and the natural draining slough. the reason that no ditch has been dug is that it is environmentaly sensitive and the pool of water tests polluted. Access to the park is always open to the public walking or on horseback by going directly West from the gate all the way to the beach and then South to the park. It does help if the tide is out.
Nickolas Furr March 08, 2012 at 04:52 AM
For people with health and/or accessibility issues, a park that one can't drive into is no park at all. It seems to me that one could simply close the gates whenever it rained, and open them again when it was dry. By the way, Lenora, lovely letter. I hope someone is reading. :-)
Dick Pilgrim March 09, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Nickolas, the gate closing when flooded (unfortunately that is not just when it rains) and opening it when the road is dry is what is currently done. However there are two sections of flooded road - one is winter rain caused and usually dries out, the other is flooded constantly due to a constant stream of fresh (??) water coming out through Yogurt Canyon just before the road turns up to Monument Mesa. The latter section is also pretty well blown out with serious pot holes from official vehicles driving through it. Perhaps we should petition Homeland Security and Duncan D. Hunter to fix it to prevent terrorists from swimming into the US - that seemed to work to get the border fence extended out into the surf!
Lenora Porcella March 09, 2012 at 08:45 AM
Thanks... :-) I think I goofed. I thought Parks was responsible but it appears that Border Patrol is doing the renovations and fixing the part of the road that they want... too bad the renovations didn't include fixing the road we want. I still haven't had an adequate answer to the question... would it be so terrible to drive through polluted water? "Why doesn’t the state just remove the gate, allow cars to park in the lot, and have beach access? What would be the harm? Walking almost two miles to gain access to the beach isn’t a reasonable option for the very young and our seniors, who can’t easily walk that distance."

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