The Channel Islands have the elements of a fantastic national park: breathtaking scenery, abundant wildlife , stunning historic sites, wildflowers, and a sea voyage besides. With its stunning nature and flora and wildlife The national park is also an National Marine Sanctuary. And because you have to take a boat or plane journey to reach these islands, taking pleasure in these park’s features is more thrilling than a typical national park visit.
One benefit of the limited access is that overcrowding isn’t a problem here. Visitors in 2012 were approximately 250,000 people. The same year, Yosemite was home to 4 million visitors which is about 16 times as many. In addition to being an National Park and a National Marine Sanctuary, it’s also an integral part of the International Man and the Biosphere Program. Visit:- https://www.idcgili.com/
Channel Islands National Park consists of five islands, four of which form a chain: San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, and Anacapa and one is separate from the others, Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara is the mainland in California and those four Channel Islands form the Santa Barbara Channel. It’s not as obvious as it seems that the island named “Santa Barbara” is not part of the Channel with the same name.
The first place you should go is the visitor center for the park, which is located on the continent within the town of Ventura. You’ll find displays as well as an indoor tidepool with maps, books and a replica of a caliche (kah lee chee) ghost forest (more about that in the future). The telescope that is located on the at the top of the building lets you to get a closer look at the islands when it’s clear.
Island Packers Company, the park concessionaire, adjoins park the headquarters of Ventura Harbor. It is, as the name suggests, Island Packers is an outfitter of trips for packers, but their heaviest of beasts are boats. The guides of Island Packers are wildlife experts. If they catch sight of a blue whale or a pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins, or groups of gulls that are circling and swarming during the crossing of the Channel, the skipper will steer toward the whales to take a closer glimpse. In the vicinity of the islands it is possible to spot harbour seals California sea lions, brown pelicans and more.
With a distance of 14 mile away from Ventura, Anacapa is the closest to the mainland. Anacapa is the smaller of the islands and is comprised of three islets, East, Middle, and West Anacapa which is the biggest of the three. West Anacapa, protected as an Research Natural Area, is the world’s primary breeding area for the once endangered Brown Pelican. The pelican is now recovering so well it was removed from the endangered species list in 2009. Anacapa is also the largest breeding area of the Western Gull.
The crew takes you around Arch Rock, Anacapa’s iconic landmark, to observe an area for hauling out that is popular with harbor seals. Then , they make a loop back to the landing cove located at the east end of East Anacapa. Guides take guests to the landing zone six at a time on Skiffs, and then they get directly onto a ladder at the pier. A stairway built into the edge of a cliff takes to 157 steps that lead up to the island’s plateau. A huge crane transports materials for the rangers who reside on the island.
Once you’re on Anacapa it is possible to hike an easy 1-mile loop to circumnavigate the island. Western harbor seals and gulls are the most often seen animals. In the season of breeding you can spot nesting gulls up to the trail. The trail is amidst the huge coreopsis or treeseed. This 4-foot tall sunflower-with-a-tree-trunk grows on all the islands, and blooms in the spring. The aptly called Inspiration Point, which is located at the western end of the islet, provides stunning views of the mountains and peaks of West Anacapa and Santa Cruz Island.
The Bureau of Lighthouses, which later became the Coast Guard, has operated an easterly facing lighthouse in Anacapa since 1932. It was the only permanent lighthouse constructed in the West Coast. The remains of a few of shipwrecks, mostly from before the construction of the lighthouse, but also afterward are scattered around Anacapa as well as some of the Channel Islands. There are traces of sunken Winfield Scott as well as other wrecks are accessible with SCUBA divers.
Camping is permitted at Anacapa Island, but in addition to the camping gear, it is necessary bring the entire water supply that you’ll require. The first residents of the lighthouse used a concrete catchment basin, which was used to channel rain into a cistern for the water supply. However, the gulls were known to enjoy visiting the area so much that they didn’t even use the water it held. It is located in the southeast of the island. It is far from the camping area.
The return journey to the mainland is usually against the current of the wind and current, which can result in a rougher ride. If you are prone to getting sea-sick be sure to bring Dramamine as well as ginger. Both could be more effective according to some studies in the field of medicine.
The Channel Islands do not include Santa Barbara Island, which is located approximately 54 miles to the east of Ventura, the Channel Islands can be thought of as part of the Santa Monica Mountain range with an ocean line. The geologic forces that created the Santa Monica Range were at work here, as well. In the geologic time, this group of islands were joined to form one huge island called Santarosae. After the general warming of the Earth following the Ice Age, the rising sea separated the islands. The rocky shores form solid ground for kelp which in turn forms a foundation for the invertebrates, fish, birds, and marine mammals.
The islands are a unique place to see rare species or species that are in more than usual quantity. The Island fox is found in the larger islands: Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa as well as San Miguel. It is a cat-sized house carnivore related to the gray fox that lives on the mainland, and feeds upon deer mice. San Miguel is known to have the greatest variety of sea lions and seals (pinnipeds that means “feather-feet”) breeding on the shores. The California sea Lion, Steller sea lion, northern elephant seal, northern fur seal, and harbor seals breed around the Island. In addition, the Guadalupe fur seal does not breed here, but it does visit. Many species of land and seabirds nest on the islands. In fact, Santa Rosa has a freshwater marsh that is home to blackbirds as well as other species of mainland birds that nest there.
The islands are rich in story. They are home to the Chumash, “island people,” lived on the islands for a period of about 6,000 years. The evidence of their presence is found in 3,000 archeological sites. Artifacts, such as huts and piled seashells, also known as middens and stone tools offer the evidence of their past. In 1542, the time that the first European expedition came to the region there were between 2,000 and 3000 Chumash. When the area was discovered in 1959 Phil Orr discovered a human femur at Arlington Springs on Santa Rosa Island. Using more advanced techniques for aging ancient material in 1999, scientists determined the age of the bone to be 13,000 years old, making this the oldest known occurrence of humankind in the Americas. This evidence supports theories that the earliest inhabitants from North as well as South America arrived by boat. One of the first European to settle in what is now California, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was a winter resident here, but died of a fall. Although his tomb has not been located, memorials are erected to his memory in San Miguel Island and in San Diego.
When the Chumash were moved to mainland missions in 1814, the land was owned by a variety of people. In the past, the islands produced orchard crops, livestock and wines, bearing wine being sold with the Santa Cruz Island label. From the beginning of World War II, the U.S. Navy has used San Miguel Island for a bombing range. Today, it’s used to test missiles from Pt. Mugu Naval Air Missile Testing Center.