Border Field State Park

January 25, 2011 by  

Border Field State Park Fence

Looking South At The Border Field State Park Fence

        The extreme southwestern point of the continental United States is encompassed by a California state park named Border Field State Park. After spending some time there, I am just going to come right out and say that this park is a victim of The War On Terror. The beach is barren because people aren’t allowed swim there, the monument at friendship circle is kept behind lock and key, there are no bathrooms or drinking fountains and you aren’t allowed to be within 50 feet of the actual border. Add to this that the road to the park is always flooded, meaning you can’t access the park with a car, only by walking or riding a horse or bicycle. In short, this park has “STAY AWAY!” written all over it. The ironic thing is that these stipulations and conditions only exist on the American side of the border.

Border Field State Park Fence

A Man, A Woman & A Dog At Border Field State Park

        On the Mexican side of the fence, you can play on the beach, walk up to and even walk through the fence. On the American side, as I found out the hard way, if you come within 50 feet or so of the actual border fence you will see a border patrol agent drive down to your location and tell you so keep back about 50 feet. There is actually a secondary fence the runs about 50 parallel feet north of the actual border, that ends about 200 feet of east of the pacific ocean that marks the limit of American citizen access. These objects of isolationism bear no signs or warnings. There is nothing in place at all to keep you from walking directly up to the actual border fence. You’ll know you’re in the wrong when a border patrol jeep drives up behind you to point out the imaginary line you are not supposed to cross.

Border Field State Park Fence

A Mexican Child Retrieves A Ball From America

        As I said before, from the Mexican side of the fence there is nothing to keep you from enjoying a wonderful beach that happens to be on the border between two countries… Swim in the water, approach the border fence, or just have some fun in the sun. As the photos in this post show, you are not entitled to ANY of these things on the American side of the beach.

Border Field State Park Fence

Playing In The Sand… A Few Feet South Of America

        I think tourists in Mexico will ultimately be just as disappointed as tourists in America that come to this park. I thought I’d be able to walk right up to the border and be able to talk with and photograph people on the other side. I was only half right. My trip to Border Field State Park has ONLY my photography to show as evidence that I was there. Just about every other human interaction activity is forbidden by law. Welcome to America.

Border Field State Park Fence

Border Field State Park Fence

        I think I may have to return to this park in a year or so to see if anything has changed. The photos surrounding this text show my impressions of this place. The closer I reached the border, the more iron bars blocked my way. As I walked away, I came across a butterfly, dead on the sand pointed towards Mexico.

        After going to Border Field State Park, it’s very hard to say what is doing the greatest good for the greatest number. From my eyes, the powers that be have turned the border area with a monument called, “Friendship Circle” into an uninviting area that no one wants to go to. What’s my proof? The empty beach in front of me and the national monument that is kept under lock & key, admissible only under of the supervision of a US Border Patrol Agent. Agents like the one that told me to step the Hell back from the border. This is the same guy I need to ask to permit me to see the monument at Friendship Circle. Can you say, “Uncomfortable?”

Border Field State Park Fence

Friendship Circle Monument As Seen From America

        I have plans to return to Border Field State Park, but I don’t know when. Actually I do know when… The next time I feel like America’s laws have become so constrictive that I can’t draw a deep breath, I will look towards this park and see all the families and children having fun… On the other side of the fence.


Leave a Reply

8 Responses to “Border Field State Park”

  1. Daniel Watman on February 11th, 2011 12:03 pm

    Thank you for this honest piece of writing in explaining your feelings and impressions of the park. There are a number of us working/struggling to change this to a much more friendly place. We've formed a coalition called Friends of Friendship Park. Check out

  2. Jill Holslin on February 12th, 2011 10:15 am

    Rob, your photos of this hideous wall are astonishingly beautiful, a testament to the resilience of the human spirit & creativity. Our spirits will never be killed off by this violence, we will continue to bear witness, to speak truth to power, and this wall someday will fall.

  3. Rob Hurlbut on February 12th, 2011 5:50 pm

    Thank you both for those kind words. With any luck at all, my photos will be out of date, and used only to show what things “used to be like” at the border.

  4. Nightnurse on April 18th, 2011 10:04 am

    If they made the beach easily usable by Americans on the, there would be no way to distinguish the Mexican people from the American people. There would be unrestricted crossing into the country as people who entered illegally mixed with the American people . If this is what you would prefer, why not take down all U.S./ Mexico borders? Why not allow unrestricted passage into our country by all who want to enter?

  5. Dach on June 6th, 2011 7:07 pm

    I too hope someday this fence is not needed, just as we don't need a fence to protect ourselves from Canada. A LOT of change will have to take place in Mexico before that day will come, though. And with so many of them running away from the problems in their country instead of trying to fix them, that day is pushed farther and farther away.

  6. Rob Hurlbut on June 7th, 2011 2:03 am

    I agree with you Dach. I really wish Mexico would try to handle their problems. Too bad we didn't push all the way down to Panama during the war with Mexico in the 1850's. That would be a much easier border for us to control!

  7. Luis on November 24th, 2011 11:00 am

    I remember coming here as a kid, back in the early 90’s, to visit with family that was unable to cross to the US. We were able to walk right up to the fence next to the monument and have a conversation. Back then, the fence didn’t go into the beach. There was no distinction in the sand from the Mexican side to the American side.

  8. En la frontera on June 14th, 2015 1:46 pm

    […] theworldisraw […]

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