Administrative History
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The Development of Planning Within the Park Service

By the target date of 1966, the Mission 66 program was deemed a success due, in large part, to the millions of dollars that Congress eventually allocated for it. In May of that year, Park Service Director George B. Hartzog, Jr. was already announcing a new program called "Parkscape U.S.A." According to Hartzog, different problems had arisen since 1956: "At that particular time, our parks were threatened because of neglect," he said. "Today we face the problem of urbanization, and growing population, and more and more leisure time." [1]

In order to accommodate the increasing number of people who made use of the parks, the Director emphasized the importance of broad and inclusive master plans. Speaking to the Service's planning staff on July 7, 1967, Hartzog said, "...parks are for people. Now this does not mean that parks are for all people, for all purposes at all times. I simply say that parks are for people and I am willing to defend that any time, any place." [2] In Hartzog's view, "...the greatest role in determining the quality of service to people in my judgment is played by the master plan." [3]

To implement the formation of master plans, a team was to be organized for each park consisting of members from its regional office and service center. Hartzog was very clear as to the role of the master plan team as it approached its task in a particular park:

These things can only come about as you folks on the master plan team become the "cutting edge of innovation." That's your role. You're an interloper. When you go to a park and start suggesting to the superintendent that this or that or something else be done, you're an interloper, and if you don't like that role, you ought to tell us so we can move you into some other job in which you'll be happier.... If you're going there to look at the park through the same glasses as the man who's there, we have too many people on the job.... I'm looking for you to bring to these programs imagination and creative thinking. [4]

In addition, according to Hartzog, the job of the planning team was to listen carefully to the man in charge. Speaking of the superintendents, Hartzog said,

Surely, he is parochially oriented, and if he doesn't stay parochially oriented, I'm going to move him...I want him to know the local problems. I want him to know the local issues. I want him to communicate them to me because, generally, we don't get in trouble on national issues; we get in trouble on parochial issues. [5]

The basic points that were to be dealt with in the master plans were well laid out by the Director. Of primary importance was the need to define the purpose of the park not, he said, "on the basis of what you think the purpose of the park is," but "what Congress said the purpose of the park is." [6] The importance of regional planning was also to be stressed and the park planned "in the environment in which it is located." [7] Since master plans for many parks were initially formulated before the impact of the automobile and the enormous number of visitors could be anticipated, the team was reminded to keep in mind the carrying capacity of a park and what effect this would have on resource management. Finally, master planning teams were exhorted once again to remember that the parks should be planned "for people as well as for the protection of resources." [8]

Although Hartzog's initial thrust in planning was to make the parks responsive to the needs of the people who used them, the temper of the times made it necessary for planning teams to balance this with increasing public interest in environmental issues. The responsibility that the Park Service had always had of reconciling the problems of use with preservation became even more sensitive in the ecologically aware 1960's and 70's, and the master plan became the primary vehicle for providing an appropriate balance. [9] With the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, all federal agencies were required to prepare a detailed environmental impact statement for "major federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment." [10] Thus, master plans prepared by the Park Service after that time included environmental assessments as part of the process. In addition, the legislation called for more citizen participation through public hearings and, as a result, the federal planning process moved from behind closed doors into the public arena. [11]

Conservation and preservation had always been a primary concern of the national parks set up for that purpose. The new mandates, however, made it necessary for historical monuments such as Cabrillo to take a broader look at the totality of their resources and to place their use under public scrutiny.

Master Planning for Cabrillo National Monument

The master plan for Cabrillo, according to Superintendent Tucker, had been in an almost constant state of revision since the first drafts were produced by Ross Holland in the early 1960's. [12] The last draft had been submitted and revised by the region in 1964 and by 1968 it was already obsolete. In a letter to the Regional Director in April 1968, Tucker explained that the last submission had been based on the supposition that the monument boundaries would be extended by 43 acres when the Interior Department's office of Saline Water was added permanently to Cabrillo. This did not come to pass, however, the Navy having acquired the property instead. [13] In addition, the separation of Channel Islands from the monument's jurisdiction and a proposal that a fee station be established (an idea later dropped) all pointed to the need for additional review of the existing draft. [14]

The Regional Office agreed with Tucker's evaluation and a master plan team was formed consisting of the superintendent, three members from the Western Regional Office, and three from the Denver Service Center. Among those chosen was F. Ross Holland, Jr., former historian at Cabrillo, who at that time was assigned to the Service Center. [15] In March 1972, the team produced a planning directive that spelled out the purposes of the master plan study and the problems to be addressed. The monument was described as a "small, compact and heavily visited urban area" and once again its singularity was emphasized:

Although the word "unique" is probably over used in describing units of the National Park System, this national monument deserves the title. Established in 1913 solely to memorialize the sixteenth century discovery of the U.S. west coast, the monument and its resources now encompass many more recreational opportunities and visitor activities. In fact, these other resources often combine to overwhelm the primary historic significance of the park—at least to the visitors' eyes. [16]

This point, of course, had been made by every administrator who had ever had the misfortune of trying to explain the problem to his superior. Now, at least, some substantive effort was being made to resolve it in a way that would give future superintendents more leeway in developing the monument's potential. In addition to creating "a balanced interpretive effort between the historical resources and the natural resources, while retaining the primary significance of the park," [17] the master plan team had to address other issues as well. They included: reducing the peak period pedestrian and vehicle congestion while separating the visitors from the cars; studying ways to reduce adverse impact on the fragile resources, such as the ocean tidepools and the easily eroded steep hillsides: and considering the possibilities of future boundary expansion. [18] It was the last point that would later cause the most serious problem with the monument's reluctant neighbor, the United States Navy.

In the initial stages of the planning process, however, the largest stumbling block was also the oldest—how to broaden the commemorative theme of the monument to include its other resources. The ingenious solution that evolved made use of the "nautical theme" so evident to anyone visiting the monument for the first time. Cabrillo, the lighthouse, the whale lookout, even the Navy ships and commercial and pleasure boats cruising the harbor, suggested to the team a unifying factor—man's relationship with the sea. [19] Opposition to this interpretation was immediate, just as it had always been in the past. This time objections came not from the Regional office but from Frank Collins who was in charge of reviewing master plans at the Denver Service Center. In his comments on the plan, Collins said:

I felt that the plan does not give sufficient emphasis on what is probably the most significant result of the exploration: the overlay of the a whole new culture on the native cultures of the area and the development of a new subculture that still exists today in the now dominant Anglo-American culture in Southern California.... This really is the significance of Cabrillo's explorations. I think the plan is remiss in not tying this story to the strong, influential and very interred [sic] in Cabrillo National Monument Portuguese community in San Diego. [20]

Doug Cornell, the team captain, strongly disagreed with this interpretation saying, "I think he misses the basic point that Cabrillo National Monument commemorates an historical event but is not itself an historical area. He believes we should dwell more on the cultural influences of the Portuguese and Spanish—a story I feel can be and is better told elsewhere." [21] After meeting with the Regional Advisory Committee on Planning Directives and Management, Regional Director Howard Chapman suggested that no attempt should be made to change what had always been considered the theme of the monument. Instead, the theme of man and the sea should be added to that of the commemoration of Cabrillo as the purpose of the monument. [22] In justifying this addition Chapman wrote, "We feel that a park's purpose must sometimes be interpreted to be more than what was stated in the establishment legislation." [23] For perhaps the first time, the Regional Office had acknowledged that Cabrillo might represent more than what the Order of Panama had originally intended in 1913. Park Service policy had at last caught up with what the monument's administrators had been attempting to point out since 1933.

In drawing up the master plan, the team carried forward its idea of expanding Cabrillo's purpose and uses. The prime mission of the monument, as stated in the 1964 draft of the master plan was: "to convey to its one million annual visitors a sense of the heroic exploits of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo and his crew." [24] In the 1974 draft, this theme was expanded by the statement: In purpose, the monument performs as a magnificent observation platform from which the visitor has an overview of the spectacular impact of the relationship between man and the sea, in the historic as well as in the contemporary sense." [25] The point was reiterated in the section on resource management and visitor use: "The commemorative role of the monument will remain the dominant theme, while the varied resources of Point Loma will be utilized to serve the National Park Service mission of environmental awareness." [26] To implement this broadened interpretation, three distinct management zones—commemorative, historic, and natural—were drawn up. The visitor complex containing the view building, the museum and auditorium as well as the overlook with the statue of Cabrillo was designated the commemorative zone. It would, according to the plan, function as "the focal point of visitor use and to provide for the primary interpretive role of the monument." [27]

The old Point Loma lighthouse and its surrounding area was designated the historic zone. Because the asphalt paving and exotic landscaping had made the lighthouse a "historic structure in a contemporary setting," [28] the plan provided for removing the road and parking spaces from the area. In addition, "restoration of the lighthouse and installation of an historically accurate larger diameter Fresnel lens" was called for. [29]

For the first time, mention was made of the gun emplacements, related bunkers and observation posts located within the monument grounds. Although considered too scattered to be included within the historic zone per se, they were nonetheless to be "maintained as historic sites" and would later "be assessed for their significance in the interpretation of coastal defenses." [30] This came in direct contrast to previous policy at the monument which had considered the leftover evidence of the world wars as a nuisance at best and a hazard to unsuspecting visitors at worst. In 1961, Superintendent Donald Robinson had informed the Regional Director that "in view of the recent vintage of these installations, the fact that the fort itself [Fort Rosecrans] is not within monument boundaries, and the rather tenuous position of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo theme, we do not feel that any effort should be made at present to include the coastal defense bunkers in the interpretive program at this monument." [31] While the 1974 master plan did not designate any specific program for the bunkers, it did leave the way open for their future use as a historic resource.

The third management zone as outlined by the plan encompassed the remainder of the monument lands and was designated the natural zone. In these natural areas, "facilities [were to be limited] to those required for interpretation of the various natural resources, their relation to man and his environment and a limited variety of recreation experiences." [32]

In dealing with the resources within the monument's existing boundaries, there was little in the proposed master plan to provoke disagreement or controversy with the public or agencies outside of the Park Service. However, in its presentation of ideas for the future, the plan ran head-on into serious opposition. The negative response expressed by the Navy showed how tenuous the uneasy truce was between the two agencies, each of which had developed its own agenda for use of the land on Point Loma.

The Monument's Relationship with the Navy — Keeping the Peace

The Navy had been a presence on Point Loma since 1904 when the La Playa Coaling Station was established as the first onshore naval activity in the San Diego area. From that time forward, various tracts of land on the Point had been transferred from other agencies to the Navy for such purposes as a fuel annex, an electronics laboratory, a neuropsychiatric research unit, a submarine support facility and various training centers. [33] Every few years rumors surfaced in the local press that the Navy was about to abandon its facilities on the Point and elaborate schemes to turn the entire area into a city or state park or an extension of Cabrillo were proposed with more optimism than ever seemed justified.

In 1970, the Department of Defense (DOD) initiated a joint armed services survey to be conducted by the Navy that would study the installations and operating space required by the DOD in Southern California. The purpose of the study, designated Project WIRE (Western Installations Requirements Evaluation), was to recommend to the Secretary of Defense "the best means of assuring long-range continuance of essential military operations in the Southern California area." [34] In explaining the project to the Regional Office, the acting Superintendent of Cabrillo said that "it appears to be a reaction by the Department of Defense to the threats made by public and various other governmental groups to encroach on military lands." [35]

Although the real estate study issued by Project WIRE does not appear to have found its way to the monument, Superintendent Tucker did receive a copy of the response sent to the project chairman by Captain M.D. Van Orden, commander of the Naval Electronics Laboratory Center. [36] In a scathing critique of the report, Van Orden stated that the document seemed to imply that "the highest and best uses for government lands in the Point Loma Complex are civilian housing, commercial development, or assignment to National Parks." [37] He criticized the "volume of pseudo-logic backing these 'highest and best uses,'" and feared that the "uninitiated" might be persuaded to believe that "there is no need for maintaining the present Naval activities on Point Loma." Van Orden enumerated the reasons why the Navy should retain its facilities on the Point, not the least of which was a $20 million building constructed as an office and training center. In conclusion he wrote: "This Command feels that publication of this particular study should be prohibited and that its ultimate use should be questioned. Its release can only add to the land-grabbing activities now in vogue which make difficult the retention of vital and irreplaceable Navy property." [38] Some thirty years before, Superintendent John R. White had accused the Navy of trying "to hog the whole of Point Loma." [39] Now it seemed that the tables had turned.

The Command's worst fear that its entire installation would be turned into an enormous public park never came to pass. As a result of the study, however, three parcels of land totaling approximately 54 acres were declared surplus and later added to the monument. [40]

With both public and governmental pressure on the military to surrender nonessential land, it is understandable that the commanding officer of the Naval Electronics Center would be sensitive to the threat of more "land-grabbing" in the future. In this context, the draft copy of Cabrillo's master plan released for public review in 1975 brought an immediate and heated response. In question was a paragraph titled "Boundary Revisions" which stated in part that "the monument boundary should be projected to ultimately include the entire southern tip of Point Loma and its offshore areas." The sentence in particular that raised military hackles said that "...the title of excess lands [would be] transferred to the Department of the Interior with the provision that existing essential military and Coast Guard uses may continue but that any new development may be undertaken only with the concurrence of the Secretary of the Interior." [41] The idea that the Navy should have to ask permission of the Secretary of the Interior to build on its own land brought cries of outrage. In a letter to Superintendent Tucker, Captain N.D. Harding, the Commander of the NELC, wrote:

As you know, I feel that the Navy has no quarrel with you on the matter of land transfers on Point Loma if the language is always couched in the framework of "if and when the Navy no longer needs it,"..[h]owever, we must oppose violently master planning and proposals from other agencies to "withdraw" land now in our custody that is being used and for which we have plans for future use. [42]

Harding went on to say that "using it as a tenant, at the sufferance of the Secretary of Interior, is not acceptable." In conclusion, he posed the question to Tucker " would you like it if we produced a master plan that 'withdrew' the military lands on Point Loma (all of the Point) and allowed the Cabrillo Monument to stay only until we need it for defense purposes, before which time improvements to the Monument would have to be cleared with the Secretary of Defense?" [43]

The Navy position was reiterated by the Commandant of the Eleventh Naval District, Rear Admiral F. B. Gilkeson, in a letter to the Department of the Interior. [44] In it, he once again stated that the Navy had no intention of withdrawing from Point Loma. On the contrary, activities in the area were expected to increase. Therefore, he said, implementation of Cabrillo's master plan was based on the fallacious idea that the Navy would soon disappear from the scene. In his comments on the environmental assessment accompanying the master plan, Gilkeson complained: "Although the objective of an environmental assessment is to discuss the unavoidable effects of the proposed plan on the existing facilities and environment, nowhere are the unavoidable adverse impacts of the plan on Navy installations discussed." [45]

Military indignation was soon placated, however, for as the Superintendent had assured Captain Harding earlier, "the National Park Service [had] no intention of attempting to pirate lands from our Navy friends on Point Loma." [46] The offending section on Boundary Revisions, as it appeared in the final Master Plan, was changed to read: "This expansion would envision a diminishing of the military need for operational sites on the southern most tip of Point Loma. Title to these lands would be transferred to the Department of the Interior as the existing military uses diminished, and the lands become available for transfer." [47]

In contrast to the Navy's objection to the master plan, the general public offered virtually no opposition. Public hearings held in April 1975 brought approving comments from such agencies as the City Parks and Recreations Department, the Planning Department and the Chamber of Commerce. The only adverse response came in the form of a petition signed by thirty-five residents of the neighborhood adjacent to the military entrance on the Point. In the petition, the signers stated their concern that increased use of the park would result in more traffic and have an overall adverse impact on the area. [48] The master plan answered this objection by stating that except for special occasions, the monument's capacity for daily visitors would not be reached for many years. When, however, "visitation levels approach these capacities" measures would be studied to deal with the problem, probably involving the increased use of public transportation. [49]

The revised master plan was accepted in July 1976 and, with its adoption, the monument finally had a workable blueprint on which to base both its day-to-day operations and its plans for the future.

Operations at the Monument in the 1970's

Moving through the planning process was an important part of the monument's activities in the 1970's. The completion of long range projects and daily operations were based in large part, however, on the availability of both funds and staffing. For example, structural rehabilitation of the lighthouse had been discussed in the early 1960's and was a major goal mentioned in the 1964 master plan. [50] Because of lack of funds, however, the project was postponed several times. [51] In 1967, Superintendent Tucker once again announced Park Service plans to begin the restoration in fiscal year 1968 but cuts in the Service's historic structures program resulted in further delays. [52] Besides causing the postponement of actual construction, the delays provided more time for controversy to develop concerning the details of the project.

A visit to the monument by Director Hartzog in 1968 resulted in some interdepartmental wrangling that pitted historical accuracy against visitor use. In keeping with the Director's philosophy of "parks for the people," he sent a memo to the Chief of the Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation and the Associate Director of Planning and Development concerning his recent visit to the monument. In the memo Hartzog stated that there was "a terrible circulation problem" in the lighthouse. To remedy this he suggested that the Regional Director "arrange for a staircase to be cut in back of the second level of the house which would exit through the lean-to kitchen and then close the tower." [53]

Historian Ross Holland immediately countered with the assertion that such an idea should be "vigorously opposed." [54] "To accommodate all visitors by disrupting the historical integrity of the structure," he said, "would be sacrilege." As is often the case with such disagreements, memo followed memo and arguments were marshalled for both sides. In the end, however, Holland won his point that "the lighthouse is simply too small to diddle with" [55] and plans for the Director's stairway were dropped.

In 1972, however, the problem of congestion within the lighthouse was alleviated by closing the tower. This step was necessitated by the structural damage being done by the constant flow of visitors up the narrow stairway to the tiny area that housed the lens. [56] Traffic problems around the lighthouse were eliminated the following year by closing the original loop road to vehicles. As for major structural repairs, however, the project continued to be postponed. Not until April 1981, a year after Superintendent Tucker retired, was work completed on the long planned structural preservation project. At that time the lighthouse was reroofed, and the second floor replastered, a drainage system installed and the basement damp-proofed. In 1983, the project was extended to the badly deteriorated tower when the lantern, and the metal and glass framework enclosing the lens, were all repaired. [57] Little, according to former Superintendent Tom Tucker, happens quickly in the Park Service. Attempting to have long range plans implemented involved, he said, "writing, writing and writing and justifications." [58]

Not all projects initiated during Tucker's superintendency had to wait until his retirement to be completed. The transfer of 56.6 acres of land from the Navy, in the works for several years, was authorized by a presidential proclamation issued on September 28, 1974. The land was put to good use when, in the early summer of 1975, the Bayside Trail, a two-mile hike along the sheltered side of the point, "made it possible to explain the abandoned military installations, man's use of the land, and native and exotic plants in the area." [59] Though begun as a guided tour, staffing shortages later necessitated making the trail self-guided.

Some of the changes that took place during Tucker's superintendency were not specific to Cabrillo. They occurred because of social changes that came about within the country as a whole and were eventually reflected in Park Service policy. The most notable example is in law enforcement. According to Tucker, until the 1960's and 70's the popularly held view of the park ranger as naturalist, guide and interpreter was generally the case. With the increase of drug-related and violent crimes, and especially. Tucker said, a riot that took place in Yosemite in 1969, it became necessary for rangers to receive formal law enforcement training. [60] At Cabrillo, this meant that rangers participated in training at the San Diego Police Academy and, for the first time, carried guns. [61] Although many of the larger parks had personnel whose only duty was law enforcement, the size of the staff at Cabrillo necessitated that even those rangers whose primary duty was protection also participate in interpretive duties as well. Conversely, interpretive personnel also received law enforcement training. In the peculiar jargon of the time, the Superintendent's Annual Report of 1978 stated:

Our service orientation is further typified by our awareness and sensitivity to the public's high expectancy of other than law enforcement services. As a small park, close contact with the public has not been sacrificed in the quest for mobility and fast response time....[I]n response to the possible adverse effects of protective "working personality" traits (as per the socialization process), our staff members continue to benefit from shared interpretive and protection duties. [62]

Gone forever were the days, it seems, when reports from the person in charge of Cabrillo contained nothing more complicated than a leaking roof or the exploits of pet robins Mickey and Minnie.

In spite of continued budget tightening on the part of the federal government, many programs and projects were developed at the monument through the utilization of the talents of staff members, volunteers and funding provided by the Cabrillo Historical Association. The Association, which by 1978 had grossed $197,013 of which $31,211 went to the Park Service, [63] financed everything from new carpets for the museum to research projects and publications. [64]

Rangers with photographic talent produced multi-media slide shows, and a local artist made a series of paintings detailing the exploits of Cabrillo which later became the basis for a film. [65] Funding through the Park Service made possible a much needed tidepool inventory completed in 1979. Although the monument administered the tidepools through a series of agreements with the Navy and Army, little had been done formerly to study the area and to assess the damage being done by increased public use. [66]

Some projects such as the outreach program, Parks to the People, were funded on an intermittent basis then finally discontinued. Others, such as the living history demonstrations produced by volunteers, went quietly out of fashion—deemed by a later administration to be "somewhat contrived and...often more 'cute' than appropriate." [67]

By the end of his tenure as superintendent in 1980, Tom Tucker had presided over some of the most dramatic changes in the monument's history. In those years, the monument grew from a lighthouse with snakes in the basement and offices in a storage building to a multi-faceted facility that attracted 1,288,500 visitors in 1980. [68] To guide an institution through a labyrinth of bureaucratic rules, changes and delays, to protect it from the pressures of a city, an ethnic group and a military establishment each with its own agenda, and to maintain the goodwill of all required the talent of a diplomat as well as an administrator. This was a talent that Tom Tucker possessed in abundance and the monument, in its most expansive period, benefited a great deal from his abilities.

Cabrillo in the 1980's — Doris Omundson

During his long tenure at Cabrillo, Tom Tucker supervised the largest construction and development program in Cabrillo's history. To his successor, Doris Omundson, fell the less glamorous task of preserving and rehabilitating some of the monument's older resources—in particular the statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. When Superintendent Scoyen of Sequoia National Park spoke at the dedication ceremony of the statue in 1949, he said that the statue would stand until "the winds and storms of many decades very slowly wear it away." [69] Little did he realize how prophetic his words would be and that the "winds and storms" would do their work in less than four decades. Although deterioration of the statue had been noted for years, the measures previously taken, including coating the statue with a preservative in 1967 and silicone in the 1970's, seemed to have done more harm than good. [70]

Admiral August Souto Cruz of Portugal, attending the Cabrillo Festival in 1981, noted the poor condition of the statue and mentioned that it reflected badly on his country. Superintendent Omundson, believing the sculpture to be the most important symbol of the monument's purpose, began, soon after, a concerted effort to save the piece. [71]

At her request, a condition report was issued by National Park Service Conservator Gregory Byrne on March 13, 1984, which concluded that the deterioration was due primarily to two factors: the nature of the stone itself which appeared to be "oolitic limestone joined by mortar to sandstone" [72] and the effects of erosion from wind, weather and salt air. The conclusion of the report was straightforward: "Without measures to abate moisture related damage, all the sculpture's distinguishing surface features will most likely be lost within the next 25 years if it remains in its present location." [73] The report further recommended that the statue be moved indoors and that a reproduction be made to take its place.

Within the next year, the superintendent traveled to Portugal where she met sculptor Joao Charters de Almeida who expressed interest in reproducing the statue. In addition, she enlisted the aid of various Portuguese organizations and community groups and explained the aims of the project to the public.

A visit by the sculptor to the site in March 1985 established the feasibility of making a mold from the original statue. This would then be used to create a reproduction in a more durable stone. [74] The most serious obstacle was, not surprisingly, obtaining the funds. Unlike other statue projects in Cabrillo's history that had expired for lack of money, this one found a benefactor. In April 1985, Marian Reupsch, long involved with the Cabrillo Historical Association, pledged up to $100,000 to fund the project. The superintendent quickly made arrangements to have the casting done, ship it to Portugal and contract for the sculptor to begin the replacement statue. [75] Though the 1984 condition report suggested that the original statue be put into storage or returned to the State of California after the replacement was completed, an alternative plan was announced by Conservator Byrne in May 1986. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Byrne said that he would, with the aid of old photographs, refurbish the sculpture. When the work was completed, it would then be displayed in the monument's museum. [76]

In June 1986, Doris Omundson was transferred to Lava Beds National Monument as part of what Regional Director Howard Chapman called "a statewide reshuffling of superintendents designed to broaden their experience." [77] Local critics of the move, however, connected it with the dissatisfaction of some members of the Portuguese community with Superintendent Omundson's handling of the statue project. Coming as it did in the middle of work in progress, the transfer engendered some controversy and resulted in letters of protest from the Cabrillo Historical Association President Dr. Raymond Starr, the Fort Guijarros Museum Foundation and other supporters, including some from the Portuguese community. [78] It remains for a later chronicler of the monument, one blessed with the benefit of historical perspective, to gauge the effect of the controversy on Cabrillo's history. In the meantime, the project continues and Superintendent Omundson leaves the monument a legacy of having saved one of its primary artifacts from the ravages of time.

A Look to the Future

The appointment of Gary Cummins to the superintendency in August 1986 brings a new perspective to the problems and potential of Cabrillo. Trained in both history and archeology, Cummins hopes to broaden both the themes and the uses of the area during his tenure. [79]

His introduction to one of the developing problems at the monument came with the 1986 Cabrillo Festival. Although attempts have been made in the past few years to extend the range of the festival to include both Spanish and Mexican elements, the event is still viewed as primarily a Portuguese celebration. On September 21, the San Diego Union published a story concerning the refusal of Pedro Temboury, Spanish consul general in Los Angeles, to take part in the Festival. According to the account, Temboury planned to boycott the event as long as he perceived that Spain was put into a secondary position to the Portuguese who, he believed, have received an inordinate amount of credit for the discovery of San Diego Bay. Joaquin Munoz, the consul general of the previous year, was said to have complained about the 1985 festival because the priest who gave the invocation blessed only the Portuguese explorers and sailors. [80]

The controversy has received more impetus with the publication of a new biography of Cabrillo written by Harry Kelsey, historian at the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History and published by the Huntington Library. While the book provides no conclusive evidence that Cabrillo was born in Spain, Kelsey presents a convincing case of circumstantial evidence that he was Spanish. According to Kelsey, "If Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was indeed Portuguese, neither the man himself nor his friends nor his relatives nor even his enemies seem to have mentioned the fact in the hundreds of pages of testimony that document the family's 'calidad' (quality) and 'limpieza de sangre' (purity of blood)." [81]

Although most historians would view the matter of Cabrillo's nativity to be a relatively unimportant footnote in history of Spanish exploration, the implications could have an effect on the future management policies of the monument. In spite of the fact that the monument owes its 1913 establishment to the recognition of Spain's historical and cultural contributions to Southern California, there has been increased identification between the Portuguese community of San Diego and the facility over the years. This identification began with the inception of Park Service administration in 1935 and was solidified by the creation of the Cabrillo Festival in 1964, an event looked upon as a Portuguese celebration.

According to Regional Historian Gordon Chappell, "the question of Juan Rodriguez' origin was not one the NPS could solve with any amount of money or historical expertise.... The historical documentation thus far discovered provides no conclusive answer, and until such documentation should be found, it will remain a matter of controversy." Thus, he concludes, the matter must be decided by "the scholarly community of historians." Until that happens: "It is simply not a question the National Park Service can settle, and one in which we probably should not take sides." [82]

Even though the issue remains to be resolved in the scholarly arena, the emotional attachment of the Portuguese community to the explorer remains. Therefore, it will require the utmost in diplomacy on the part of present and future superintendents to assure that the Cabrillo Festival, the monument's primary vehicle "to take the Cabrillo story to a wider audience," [83] does not deteriorate into a petty battle between ethnic groups in the community.

While Superintendent Cummins emphasizes that the story of Cabrillo will continue to be the primary interpretive thrust at the monument, he hopes to broaden and enrich the visitor's understanding of how this event fits in with the entire history of San Diego Bay and Point Loma [84] The same elements that attracted Cabrillo to the port also influenced the building of the Spanish Fort Guijarros and the military installations of both World Wars I and II. These connections between the location of Point Loma and its uses for defense and commerce have been pointed out by past administrators of the monument and articulated in the first comprehensive interpretive plan created by historian Ross Holland. It is Cummins' intention to draw on these elements through the use of archeology as well as history and to work with local institutions such as the Fort Guijarros Foundation and other community groups with similar interests. [85]

Some of the problems that will need to be addressed by Cummins have to do with the Cabrillo's natural resources. Poaching in the tidepools and the waters adjacent to monument land is a growing problem, according to the superintendent. [86] Through cooperative agreements with the Navy and the Army Corps of Engineers, the monument has been granted jurisdiction over the tidepools adjacent to and abutting the existing U. S. Coast Guard Point Loma Light Station as well as those located between the Coast Guard Station and the Cabrillo boundary. [87] The situation is complicated, however, by an unsettled jurisdictional dispute between the Federal Government and the State of California over the tidelands. While the Federal Government contends that its jurisdiction extends 300 yards beyond low tide, the state maintains that it ends at the high tide mark. This difference of opinion has resulted in continuing conflict between State Fish and Game laws and National Park Service regulations. California regulations prohibit the taking of any plant or invertebrate marine life 150 feet beyond mean low tide in the Point Loma Reserve. Park regulations, however, extend this prohibition to within 300 yards of mean low water. [88] Until this matter is settled and some satisfactory method of enforcement is developed, danger to the fragile tidepool area will continue.

Another of the issues facing all National Park superintendents in the 1980's is not new but merely a variation on an old theme. No longer blessed with the largesse of Congress through programs like Mission 66, parks and monuments in recent years have had to rely more than ever on private sources of funding. Former Superintendent Tucker views this development with considerable alarm. Speaking of Doris Omundson's dual role of superintendent and development officer he said:

...she is not only allowed to but is persuaded that she should go out into the community and beat the bushes for funds...I think this is a sad commentary and a very poor premise and I feel that when the nation begins to pass around a tin cup to get funds to build aircraft carriers and tanks and those kinds of things, then I think that all the services ought to do that. [89]

The Park Service, he believes, by soliciting private funding "is pressed into service to do things that are contrary to the best interests of the philosophy of the National Park System." [90]

For Superintendent Cummins, however, the need to acquire funds is simply a fact of life—necessary if not particularly pleasant. He believes that it is the job of the superintendent to not only seek private financial sources for monument projects but to handle these donations skillfully so that they do not interfere with Park Service policy. In addition, according to Cummins, superintendents must also know how to refuse those private interests who offer projects that could be detrimental to the overall well being, goals or philosophy of the area. [91]

In this respect, Cabrillo has not really begun a new era but only come full circle. The original statue for the monument was to have been built from donated funds, the present statue was donated and the reproduction currently being built is part of that tradition. Unfortunately, the Park Service has always been forced to "pass the tin cup." It is perhaps the mission of superintendents like Cummins to use large measures of sophistication and skill to fill the cup to the monument's best advantage.

In Conclusion

Had the Order of Panama decided to place its memorial to Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo on any piece of land in San Diego other than the one it chose, the story of Cabrillo National Monument would be decidedly different. Located on a promontory that affords to the visitor one of the most magnificent views in the world, the monument has always suffered from an embarrassment of natural and historical riches that has made it difficult both to define and to administer. Unlike many properties in the National Park System, Cabrillo was considered a local attraction long before it achieved any national significance. Honoring the "discoverer" of California was only part of the reason the local populace petitioned the federal government for permission to erect a monument. A significant part of the plan was to build it on a spot that would attract national and international visitors—an idea that only made sense in tourist oriented town. When, twenty years later, the area became part of the National Park System by default rather than design, hope once more flowered among the local populace that suitable recognition of "the Plymouth Rock of the West" [92] would at last come to pass.

San Diego has been accused by one Park Service historian of "pious mouthings" in connection with its penchant for grandiose schemes for the monument that never seemed to happen. [93] While this is true to some degree, such criticism does not take into account the very real contributions both individuals and organizations have made at every critical juncture of the monument's development. Blessed with the political expertise of influential businessmen who knew when and how to apply appropriate pressure, Cabrillo, which started out as one of the Park Service's most insignificant properties, was able to compete successfully for the appropriations that saved it from early obscurity. When it appeared that the military might quietly absorb the property after World War II without opposition from the Park Service, judiciously applied local pressure was the factor that opened Cabrillo's gates to the public once again. Luck as well as skill played a part in the lengthy negotiations that resulted in the monument's first boundary extension. Had not a sympathetic San Diego congressman been a member of the powerful Armed Services Committee, the local campaign to acquire land from the military might never have been successful.

Contributions of the local populace to the development of Cabrillo National Monument is, of course, only part of the story. The monument has been blessed from the beginning with administrators who saw the enormous potential of the area and were often willing to stand up to their superiors when its welfare was at stake. Under Superintendents White and Scoyen, with the assistance of Clifton Rock, the monument survived its first tenuous steps. Through the persistence of Superintendent Don Robinson, as well as the aid of local citizens and politicians, the monument succeeded in acquiring the land necessary to make it a viable part of the National Park System. The managerial skill of Superintendent Tom Tucker, along with his personal popularity, were the major factors in establishing Cabrillo's place in that system during the tremendous growth period of the 1960's and 70's. Superintendent Omundson, in her five year tenure, had to deal with the difficult and controversial issues that face all Park Service managers today. Government money for programs and projects has once more slowed to a trickle and superintendents must return again to outside sources for funding. This situation brings, as it has in the past, all the inherent contradictions between private agendas and public policy.

In the nearly seventy five years of the monument's history. custodians and superintendents have had to deal with problems common to the entire National Park System as well as those unique to the area. In turn, each of these administrators has called upon his or her particular talents to guide the monument through periods of bureaucratic insensitivity, local pressures and possible diplomatic blunders.

John R. White, superintendent of such great natural wonders as Sequoia National Park and Death Valley National Monument, saw from the beginning the potential of Cabrillo to become "a bright star in the National Park galaxy." [94] If he were to return today, he would no doubt agree that his "bright star" has taken enormous strides toward fulfilling that promise.

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Last Updated: 02-Mar-2005