Naturally Speaking: Nature in Balance

January 30, 2018 Posted by: McKenna Pace
Since its creation in 1916, the National Park Service has had a pretty tough job to do. Written into their very mission is a lofty goal: “to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.” In other words, the National Park Service is tasked with preserving our nation’s resources while simultaneously providing a positive, memorable, and educational visitor experience. 

Cabrillo National Monument Foundation members recently had the opportunity to learn about this difficult task from Cabrillo’s very own Superintendent, Andrea Compton. During her talk, Andrea spoke about her experiences at Cabrillo and Joshua Tree National Park, and the compromises made in order to maintain a balance between resource protection and visitor experience. These compromises include things like roads and paved trails constructed to make Cabrillo more accessible, while still prohibiting visitors from going off trail.

Superintendent Andrea Compton speaks to attendees at her Naturally Speaking lecture on January 18.
NPS Photo/Nicole Ornelas – Superintendent Andrea Compton speaks to attendees at her Naturally Speaking lecture on January 18.

Andrea also spoke about maintaining a balance between the many laws regulating what can and cannot be done within the park. One such regulation is known as Mission 66. Funded by Congress, Mission 66 was a push to build visitors centers, signs, and more in national parks across the country with the hopes that it would draw more visitors into the parks. The Cabrillo National Monument visitor’s center, auditorium, breezeway, administration building, and Ballast View area were all constructed during this time. Because these facilities were built during a historic movement, they are now considered cultural resources and must be preserved unimpaired for this and future generations.

a group of children enjoy their lunch at Ballast View.
NPS Photo/McKenna Pace – a group of children enjoy their lunch at Ballast View.

Why does all of this matter? Well, when Ballast View was originally constructed during Mission 66, the intent was for the area to be a quiet place where people could go to reflect. Now, however, it’s the favorite picnic spot of many of our school groups who come to the park on field trips. As you can imagine, Ballast View is no longer much of a quiet space. During her lecture, Andrea used the opportunity to gather input from attendees about what should be done at Ballast View. Should we stick to Mission 66 and make it more of a quiet space? Should we build a picnic area elsewhere in the park? Should we make Ballast View more wheelchair accessible? Or should we do nothing at all? Plans to change the Ballast View area may be coming in the near future. Stay tuned!

*A special thank-you to Superintendent Andrea Compton for her captivating lecture on January 18. If you would like to become a Foundation member and attend future members-only events, visit the CNMF website at: https://cnmf.org/shop/membership/

**Our next Naturally Speaking lecture, entitled Peregrine Falcons – Masters of the Air, features volunteer naturalist Don Endicott. This lecture will highlight the once-endangered birds of prey native to San Diego. The event will be held March 22 at 6 pm in the Cabrillo National Monument Auditorium. RSVP to this CNMF members-only event here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfIThLgmG1lMDHS4V2K4tKVrUW0qH0wR48HPmv3BPu4TYOf6g/viewform

Superintendent Andrea Compton speaks to Foundation members following her lecture
NPS Photo/Nicole Ornelas – Superintendent Andrea Compton speaks to Foundation members following her lecture.

Naturally Speaking, Administration




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Last updated: January 30, 2018

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