ABOUT THE PARK
In his February 1971 environmental message to Congress, President Richard Nixon announced the gift of 372 acres of the Navy’s Border Field to the state of California for development as a park as part of his Legacy of Parks program. The grant to the state included “the entire boundary of Border Field including one mile of beach frontage and additional frontage on an inland bay.” The ‘bay’ refers to the estuary area at the mouth of the Tijuana River.
Friendship Park was dedicated by First Lady Pat Nixon on August 18, 1971, as a symbol of Friendship between the U.S. and Mexico. “I know you’re going to have many happy times here—especially after we do as well with our beach as our friends to the south have done; planning trees and flowers and making it an attractive beach land for all….” After planting a commemorative tree, Mrs. Nixon instructed her security detail to cut the wire so she could enter Mexico to greet an adoring crowd. “I hope there won’t be a fence too long here,” she said.