Cabrillo National Monument

About the Park

Located in a large metropolitan area just west of the city of San Diego, Point Loma encompasses more than 660 acres of native habitat.  Cabrillo National Monument rests protected on 160 acres at the southern-most tip of the peninsula, which is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the west, San Diego Bay on the east, and urban development on the north. The Cabrillo National Monument is part of the Mediterranean Coast Network that includes Channel Islands National Park and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Together, these parks protect some of the most significant examples of terrestrial Mediterranean-type ecosystems and coastal marine environments anywhere in the world. The climate of the Mediterranean ecosystem along with the diverse topography in the Santa Monica Mountains has created a landscape filled with unique natural resources.

At the time Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed into San Diego Bay in 1542, a rich diversity of life was present, ranging from desert cactus to moisture-loving algae, tarantulas to sea slugs, and gray foxes to sea lions.  Approximately 3,000 Native Americans lived in the San Diego area at that time.  The Kumeyaay, or Diegueños according to the Spanish accounts, lived simply in the environment but likely impacted the landscape through the use of fire.  Today, largely due to the impacts of European colonization and centuries of growth and development, the habitat Cabrillo saw is now among the rarest in the world.  Although only a remnant of that biologically diverse ecosystem remains, it is well worth visiting and protecting.  This unique diversity of plants and animals occurs here because Cabrillo National Monument lies at the southern-most extent of some plant and animal ranges, and the northern-most extent of others.

Cabrillo National Monument, as a member of the Pacific West Region, is involved in the first regional effort in the National Park Service to become carbon neutral.  The Region has developed a vision of having its park operations be carbon neutral and of having all of its parks be a member of the Climate Friendly Parks Program by 2010.

Cabrillo National Monument

Emissions Profile

GHG emissions result from the combustion of fossil fuels for transportation and energy (e.g., boilers, electricity generation), the decomposition of waste and other organic matter, and the volatilization or release of gases from various other sources (e.g., fertilizers and refrigerants). 

In 2008, GHG emissions within Cabrillo National Monument totaled 263 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E). For perspective, a typical single family home in the U.S. produces approximately 12 MTCO2 per year (U.S. EPA, Greenhouse Gases Equivalencies Calculators – Calculations and References, Retrieved; Website: Thus, the emissions from park operations are roughly equivalent to the emissions from the energy use of 22 households each year.

The largest emission sector for Cabrillo National Monument is transportation, totaling 194 MTCO2E. Cabrillo National Monument currently has nine electric vehicles in use within the monument and plans to purchase at least two more. Presently, our interpretive park ranger staff is developing ranger-led talks promoting ways to reduce greenhouse gases. Through education we will not only help the park but also increase awareness through the eyes of our visitors.

The graph below, taken from our Action Plan, shows our baseline emissions in 2008 broken down into sectors.

GHG Emissions graph


Cabrillo National Monument has committed to:

  • Educate Park employees and visitors about the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change.
  • Replace old equipment with new energy efficient equipment.
  • Replace light bulbs with energy efficient florescent bulbs.
  • Increase the number of solar panels on the visitor center and maintenance building
  • Install energy efficient double pane windows with reflective film to reduce solar heating.
  • Place more recycling receptacles throughout the park.
  • Install Photovoltaic lighting along the sidewalks throughout the park.
  • Continue to purchase and encourage the use of electric vehicles.
  • Replace large utility vehicles with smaller more efficient vehicles.
  • Install waterless urinals throughout the park.

To read more about what we are doing at Cabrillo National Monument about Climate Change, check out our Action Plan!