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Environmental Security

Marine Corps Installations West

Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
Cultural Resources Program


Along Camp Pendleton’s Vandegrift Boulevard stands one of California’s many historic El Camino Real bells that has been around long before any Marine or sailor occupied the land. The bell symbolizes the trail used by the Franciscan Padres on the journey to Northern California from Mexico in the 1800s. The Padres were Catholic priests sent by the King of Spain to convert Native Americans of California to Catholicism, in order to become citizens of Spain. The bell on base stands where the trail crosses Vandegrift Boulevard, just inland of the main gate.


Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is an approximately 125,000-acre amphibious training center located along the Pacific coast in northern San Diego County. The base is one of the Department of Defense's busiest installations and offers a broad spectrum of training facilities for many active and reserve Marine, Army and Navy units, as well as national, state, and local agencies.

Despite being surrounded by a largely urbanized area, MCB Camp Pendleton has emerged as an important reservoir of archaeological and historical resources, with several hundred cultural resource sites recorded in a wide variety of settings within its boundaries. MCB Camp Pendleton also provides a unique natural landscape, that is home to several rare plant species and native landscapes that are now difficult to find elsewhere.

This website was created to provide information about important heritage assets located on base and to promote community involvement in cultural resource preservation and interpretation opportunities.

The mission of the cultural resource program is to support the MCB Camp Pendleton mission, achieve regulatory compliance, and ensure that stewardship responsibilities are met. The cultural resource program on MCB Camp Pendleton is conducted in accordance with a substantial number of federal laws, executive orders, regulations, standards, and guidelines, including the National Environmental Policy Act, Executive Order 11593 (Protection and Enhancement of the Cultural Environment), and the National Historic Preservation Act, among others. A list of applicable federal guidance on cultural resource management and preservation can be found
here.

Cultural resources can be buildings, structures, districts, archaeological sites, historic landscapes, traditional cultural properties, Native American sacred sites, and objects of significance in history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, or culture that are eligible for or included in the National Register of Historic Places. Cultural resources can also include associated documents and records.

Stewardship responsibilities include the identification of cultural resources, evaluation of cultural resources for eligibility for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, the evaluation and assessment of effects to cultural resources resulting for various undertakings, the encouragement of cultural resource preservation, and the documentation of cultural resources if they are altered or destroyed. Other responsibilities held by the cultural resources program include communicating with various stakeholders to advance awareness and preservation of cultural resources.