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By Jim Shilander

The California State Historic Preservation Commission unanimously approved a proposal to designate Trestles and San Onofre State Park as historic landmarks last Friday.

The approval is a victory for local advocates who have pushed for more than a year. The process now moves to the national level.

“I think it’s a historic step in the culture of surfing to have the birthplace of California surfing recognized nationally,” said Jim Kempton, president of the California Surf Museum.

The Department of the Navy had objected to the designation, noting the importance of the area for training exercises at Camp Pendleton. The Department of the Navy actually owns the property, and leases it to the state. The current 50-year lease expires in 2021.

Mark Rauscher of the Surfrider Foundation said his organization will work with the Navy to make sure a national designation does not adversely impact the Marine Corps’ ability to perform training exercises.

Rauscher estimated that the national process would likely run another six to nine months. The state must pass on its decision to the Navy, who would then send the request on to the Keeper of the National Registry of Historic Places.

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