Despite government shutdown, Cabrillo National Monument opens on - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Despite government shutdown, Cabrillo National Monument opens on 100th anniversary

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Visitors to the Cabrillo National Monument were being allowed to walk into the park, even though a 100th anniversary celebration initially scheduled for Monday was postponed because of the shutdown of the federal government.

While the gate at the entrance to the monument remained closed to vehicles, people were being allowed to walk or ride wheelchairs at their own risk to the Point Loma Lighthouse, Chief Ranger Ralph Jones said.

The Centennial Commemorative Ceremony would have capped off a weekend-long festival leading up to the anniversary of San Diego's only national park, but it was postponed until "an undetermined date in the near future," according to a message on Cabrillo Centennial's website.

"We apologize for any inconvenience this situation has created for you," the message stated. "Know that our efforts to serve the American public, protect and preserve our national treasures and bring you the history and stories of the American people will continue."

The three-day centennial of the monument at the southern tip of the Point Loma peninsula would have featured a tour of the lighthouse, the burial of a time capsule and an antique car show.

The "Cabrillo Lights Up the Night" gala fundraiser, which was scheduled for Saturday, has been postponed until March, according to the Cabrillo National Monument Foundation.

On Oct. 14, 1913, President Woodrow Wilson ordered a statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who landed in the San Diego Bay in 1542 in the first European expedition to reach the West Coast, on about half an acre in Fort Rosecrans.

According to park spokeswoman Bonnie Phillips, all visitor facilities at the monument, which gets about 800,000 visits each year, were to remain closed until the shutdown ends, including the bayside trails, bookstore, lighthouse, military history exhibit, tidepools and Visitor Center.

About 30 of the monument's employees have been furloughed or had their jobs somehow affected, but a few remained on duty to respond to emergencies and to provide security, Phillips said. Field trips for about 400 students were also canceled, she said.

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