Welcome to Cabrillo

Welcome to Cabrillo National Monument–Where Volunteers Make a Difference

Each year the National Park Service recognizes exceptional efforts in volunteer management and service. In a special ceremony held in Washington DC on June 25, 2014, the volunteer program at Cabrillo National Monument received the prestigious George and Helen Hartzog Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service of 2013. Cabrillo was selected out of 401 national park units across the country for this high honor.

Cabrillo National Monument has an amazing staff and some of the nicest National Park rangers you’ll ever meet, but this is a busy, busy place that needs lots of volunteers to keep it humming. Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes and with a variety of interests. Everyone from students to retired folks and from scientists to teachers donate their time to Cabrillo National Monument. We’re happy to have you as part of our award-winning program.

Cabrillo National Monument is located in San Diego, California, in the very Southwestern corner of the United States. The monument celebrates the 1542 landing of explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo on the west coast of what would become the United States. A beautiful restored lighthouse from the 1800s stands on a hill commanding a 360 degree view encompassing the Pacific Ocean, San Diego Bay, mountains, and two countries. A two-mile hiking trail along the eastern side of the park gives visitors an up-close look at the rare coastal sage scrub habitat. A World War II exhibit and military bunkers give history buffs an opportunity to experience what it was like for the soldiers who kept watch over the West Coast in the early 1940s. The tidepool area enables visitors to see life in and out of the water as the tides shift. During the months of December to February, Cabrillo National Monument is an excellent spot for watching Pacific Gray Whales pass by as they make their extraordinary yearly trip between the Arctic and Mexico. After spending the summer feeding in the food-rich waters of the Arctic, the whales swim south along the coast to Baja California, Mexico for mating, calving and nursing their young.


Volunteers-in-Parks (VIPS)

The primary objective of the Volunteers-in-Parks Program at Cabrillo National Park is to assist the rangers in meeting the NPS and CNM missions by providing labor, expertise, skills, and talents to all areas of the park, such as:


Tidepool Protection, Education, and Restoration Program (TPERP)

Visitor Center and Entry Gate

Living History

Community Outreach

Tidepool, Herpetology, and Bird Monitoring

Greenhouse / Landscape Maintenance

Curatorial Maintenance (lighthouse and museums)

Lighthouse Garden

Trails & Rails

Science Explorer’s Club

Weed Warriors

Early Detection Rapid Response



The VIP Program is guided by the Volunteer Navigation Committee (VNC), which is run by VIPs and is open to any park staff or volunteer who would like to join. Please see: http://www.nps.gov/cabr/getinvolved/supportyourpark/upload/VNC-Blurb.pdf

The VIP section of the park webpage can be viewed at: http://www.nps.gov/cabr/getinvolved/volunteer.htm

The VIP’s own blog and source of information is: https://CNMVIPVoice.org

NPS Guiding Document: Director’s Order 7; http://www.nps.gov/policy/DOrders/DO-7.htm

Cabrillo National Monument Foundation (CNMF)

The Cabrillo National Monument Foundation (CNMF) was established in 1956 as an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit and serves as the Cooperating Association partner for Cabrillo National Monument. The purpose of CNMF is to provide program or financial assistance to CNM from income earned in the areas of public education, interpretation, research, and related visitor service activities. The Foundation’s primary means of raising revenue for the park is through the park visitor center and bookstore. Projects the Foundation has supported can be seen at: http://cnmf.org

NPS Guiding Document: Director’s Order 32, http://www.nps.gov/policy/DOrders/RM32.doc and when fundraising: Director’s Order 21; http://www.nps.gov/policy/DOrders/DOrder21.html

Last revised 17-Feb-19