887. From YWCA to State Park

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the YWCA was forced to cut back on its expenses. They stopped funding their camps and conference grounds throughout the United States and put Asilomar up for sale in 1933. But they found no buyers. For several years, the YWCA leased the property as a hotel. Then, in 1943, they opened the empty rooms to the families of military stationed at nearby Fort Ord. In 1949, the California State Parks purchased the strip of coastline opposite Asilomar for a state beach. They wanted Asilomar’s dunes, too, but the YWCA insisted they buy the whole property and keep it intact. Senator Fred Farr and Assemblyman Alan Pattee wrote legislation to make Asilomar a state park—with one provision: no public funds could be used to support it. Dennis Hanson, retired State Park Superintendent: DENNIS HANSON: Asilomar is unique in one primary way and that is that the funding source for the entire operation, including state park staff and concession staff and all maintenance requirements and development requirements, are all taken out of the funds which the operation itself generates here on site. NARRATOR: In other words, not a single tax dollar goes to support this state park. It’s entirely self-sustaining.