Just a month after the U.S. Border Patrol promised better public access to Monument Mesa in the historic Border Field State Park, the gates to the mile-and-a-half-long road from the park entrance to the mesa — where Friendship Park remains behind more Border Patrol gates — were locked all weekend.
The lowest part of the only road through the park flooded during recent rains, making access by vehicles impossible. The state park announced the closure on November 9.
Rev. John Fanestil, whose persistence in asking for access to hold religious services at the fence originally won the Border Patrol's promise of greater access, instead held services on the Tijuana side of the fence at Playas de Tijuana. One attendee on the U.S. side made the half-hour walk to the mesa and was given access to the fenced-off Friendship Park to take part in the prayer service.
The state-park website says the park needs $4 million to repair the quarter-mile stretch of road, which leads through the low part of the salt marsh to the picnic area on the mesa immediately adjacent to the beach. There is a road parallel to the flooded portion, but it is restricted to Border Patrol vehicles.
The picnic area, completed this year at a cost of $250,000, was built by the same contractor that built portions of the border fence now blocking access to the monument.
Border Field State Park is the westernmost monument in a series that began as border markers in Texas, all established following the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.