The continuing government shutdown has spoiled a long-awaited centennial celebration at Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego, leaving visitors and locals very disappointed.
Cabrillo National Monument commemorates the September 1542 landing of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo at San Diego Bay. On October 14, 1913 –exactly 100 years ago to the day – President Woodrow Wilson designated the space for a statue of Cabrillo.
Now, events to remember that special day are being delayed, just like so many other things around the nation, due to the government shutdown.
This past weekend was supposed to be one of celebration and culture at Cabrillo National Monument. However, last week, it was announced that planned centennial events at the local national park had been officially cancelled.
The Cabrillo National Monument, normally open daily, has been closed since Oct. 1 as a result of the shutdown.
Over the weekend and on Monday, the main entrance to the national park remained blocked.
NBC 7 spoke to several visitors, including Vincent Garcia, who were disappointed in the closure.
“We were going to enjoy this scenery but apparently the park is closed so we have to pretty much turn around and go back home,” said Garcia.
“There were so many signs that tell you not to go in,” said Bill Hall, visiting from Arizona.
“Well, it is disheartening to see them [government leaders] doing what they’re doing. They need to come together and look out for our country,” added Sharon Hall.
According to the Cabrillo National Monument Foundation, 250 tickets were sold for this weekend’s centennial festivities. The money for those tickets can be returned to ticketholders, or given as a donation toward park programs and education. For now, the celebration has been postponed until further notice.
On Monday, one San Diego resident told NBC 7 that some locals planned to gather at Cabrillo National Monument regardless of the shutdown and hold their own makeshift centennial celebration.
Protestor Terri Linnell met with Chief Ranger Ralph Jones last week and again on Monday morning regarding the park closure.
“I would like to ask you to please open those gates and show this county that here in San Diego, we have a safe harbor to come to,” said Linnell.
After their conversation, Jones agreed to allow protestors to walk in on the basis that they were “exercising First Amendment rights.” Jones said everything inside the park remains closed, including all buildings and restrooms.