Richard Nixon photo

Statement About Plans To Make Land in Camp Pendleton, California, Available for Public Recreational Use

March 31, 1971

CAMP Pendleton, California, is part of the legacy which the World War II era left for the seventies. For 30 years these 18 miles of choice coastal land have served as an important training center for the U.S. Marine Corps. During that same period, California has become the Nation's most populous and most urban State; several million people now live within an hour's drive of Camp Pendleton in the San Diego-Los Angeles metropolitan complex.

For these people, as for all Americans, we must seek to leave a legacy that goes beyond good housing, vital industries, and strong defense. We must also provide an endowment of parklands and recreational areas that will enrich their leisure opportunities and make the beauties of the earth and sea more accessible to them. As an important step toward creating such a legacy for the people of southern California, I am pleased to announce today that fully one-third of the beach front area within Camp Pendleton will soon be made available for recreational use by the general public.

I recently requested the Secretary of Defense to initiate proceedings which will offer approximately 6 miles of the Camp Pendleton beach front, located on both sides of the San Onofre nuclear generating station, for parkland and public use, by transfer of title to the State of California. Another 3,400 acres of undeveloped land lying in back of Highway 101 on the San Clemente side of the base will also be made available either to public bodies, or for public sale, in which case the proceeds would under the law be added to the Land and Water Conservation Fund and used for Federal and local park development. In accordance with statute, Secretary Laird will inform the interested committees of the Congress that this property is to be released.

On Tuesday the Department of the Navy signed a lease agreement making some 3 miles of beach front south of the nuclear generating station available for immediate public use. This is a temporary arrangement undertaken in order to provide immediate public access to the beach area and to avoid any interference with plans which have been made by the State of California to open this segment of the beach front to the public during the school holidays in April. As soon as it becomes possible formally to declare that the entire 6 miles of beach front are in excess of Federal Government needs, the lease will be terminated and the 6-mile beach front area--with the exception of the site of the San Onofre nuclear generating station-will be deeded to the State of California for park purposes.

The Property Review Board, which I established last year, has studied the Camp Pendleton lands at my request, and has recommended the action I am announcing today. The Board is continuing its survey of the real property held by the Federal Government in every area of the country, and will make further recommendations concerning lands which can be better utilized if they are opened to the public. Further announcements will be forthcoming as quickly as additional properties can be cleared for improved use. I am confident that the result will be better Federal property management, improvements in the preservation and enjoyment of our natural environment, and a growing legacy of parks and recreational facilities that will benefit all Americans just as the Camp Pendleton action does.

Note: The statement was released at San Clemente, Calif.

Richard Nixon, Statement About Plans To Make Land in Camp Pendleton, California, Available for Public Recreational Use Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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