ABOUT THE PARK: THE INAUGURATION
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 as a symbol of Friendship between the U.S. and Mexico in 1971 by first lady Pat Nixon on August 18, 1971. 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 that day.