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Tour Channel Islands NP

MainTour Ventura Adventure Guide
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Hot Links Adventure Overview - Ventura California

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Tour Palm Springs
This desert oasis is a most popular warm-weather winter retreat with over 100 championship golf courses to play on, fine dining and great entertainment.

    Channel Islands National Park
    Visitors Center 805-658-5700; 1901 Spinnaker Dr., Ventura, CA 93001;
    The islands are accessible only by aircraft or boat. But, the park visitors center is located on the mainland shore in Ventura.

    249,354 protected areas off the Southern California coastline. Designated as national parkland in 1980, The park consists of principally five islands: Anacapa, Santa Barbara, San Miguel, Santa Cruz (largest) and Santa Rosa.

    History:
    1542 found the explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo entering the Santa Barbara Channel. Cabrillo, commanding an expedition in service of Spain, was the first European to land on the islands. While on his northbound odyssey of exploration, Cabrillo wintered on an island he called San Lucas (San Miguel or possibly Santa Rosa Island). He died as a result of a fall on that island and may have been buried on one of the Channel Islands, but his grave has never been found. Subsequent explorers included Sebastian Vizacaino, Gaspar de Portola and English Captain George Vancouver, who in 1793, fixed the present names of the islands on nautical charts.

    Beginning in late 1700s and into the 1800s, Russian, British and American fur traders searched the islands' coves and shorelines for sea otter. The otter was almost hunted to extinction. The hunters then turned toward the seals and sea lions. Several of these species faced extinction as well.

    In the early 1800s, the Chumash and Gabrielino people were removed from the islands and settled in mainland missions. Hunters, settlers and ranchers soon came to the islands. By the mid-1800s, except for fishermen, ranching became the economic mainstay.

    Anacapa and Santa Barbara Islands were protected as national monuments in 1938 and then upgraded to national park status in 1980 with the additions of San Miguel, Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands.

    There are several archealogical sites on Santa Rosa and San Miguel Islands rich with Chumash Indian artifacts.

    Channel Islands Aviation
    Camarillo Airport, Camarillo, CA; (805) 987-1301 x “100”; FLYCIA.COM;
    Escape to Santa Rosa Island! With a short 25 minute flight you’ll be ushered into a world of breathtaking vistas, deserted beaches, and incredible landscapes including a forest of one of the rarest trees in the world…the Torrey Pines! Enjoy half day excursions, Surf-Fishing and Camping safaris. Gift Certificates available! Channel Islands Aviation is the official flying Concessionaire for the Channel Islands National Park.

MainTour San Luis Obispo Vacation Adventure
MainTour's special feature of exciting vacation getaways of the Central California Coast including Hearst Castle, San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, Paso Robles, San Simeon, Cambria and the scenic Pacific Coast Highway.

Adventure Links Wildlife - Channel Islands National Park


Tour Park City
This mountain community is home to three world class ski resorts and hosted several alpine venues of the 2002 Winter Olympics. The historic district is a bustling year-round draw for vacationers.


Tour Pasadena California
Host to the famous Tournament of Roses Parade and Norton Simon Museum and JPL Center. Pasadena's very famous New Years Day celebration has been running every year since 1889 and today it attracts over 5 million attendance plus a huge television telecast in multiple languages. Later the same day is the famous football challenge.

    Pinnipeds:
    Channel Islands National Park is best known for its large rookeries of marine mammals including some four species of pinnipeds, or "fin-footed" animals - sea lions, sea otters, fur seals and elephant seals.

    Elephant Seals - The 8,000 lb. bull elephant seal makes home on Santa Barbara Island. During various times of year, around 50,000 giant elephant seals seek the isolation of the islands to haul-out, breed and molt. Most of them prefer remote Point Bennett, on the far western tip of San Miguel Island--truly one of the park's greatest natural wonders. Smaller colonies can be seen on Santa Barbara and Santa Rosa Islands. But they are often heard before any sighting, their deep rumblings rolling like thunder across the landscape.

    California Sea Lions -

    Seals - Harbor seals and northern fur seals live in this region.

    Sea Otters -

    Whales:
    Offshore waters are principal migration route for the familiar California Gray Whale and also the Blue Whale, the world's largest mammal.

    Island Fox:
    Six islands, (San Miguel, Santa Cruz, Santa Catalina, San Nicolas, and San Clemente) comprise the only place in the world that is home to the island fox, Urocyon litteralis. The island fox is considered closely related to the mainland gray fox, Urocyon cinereoargenteus. Island foxes average in size from 12 to 13 inches in height, 590 to 700 mm in length, and three to four pounds in weight. This size is up to 18 percent smaller than the nearby mainland gray fox. Similar in appearence to the gray fox, the island fox is identified by a gray coloring on the back, reddish brown coloring on the sides, and white undersides. There are distinctive black, white and rufous markings on the face.

    Birding:
    A variety of nesting sea birds make their home here. The islands are filled with colonies of auklets, cormorants, murrelets.
    Brown Pelican - West Anacapa is a sanctuary for Brown Pelican. The only breeding colonies of Brown Pelican in the western US. are supported by the Channel Islands. These colonies almost disappeared in the 1970's .

    California Coastal National Monument
    Established in 2000, the California Coastal National Monument runs the entire length of the California coast (1,100 miles) between Oregon and Mexico, extends 12 nautical miles from the shoreline, and encompasses thousands of BLM administered islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles above mean high tide. These provide forage and breeding grounds for significant populations of coastal birds and sea mammals.


Adventure Links Recreational Activities - Channel Islands National Park

    Diving:
    Some of the best dive spots of the U.S. West Coast are here. Divers can find abundant Rockfish, Abalone, Lobster and Scallop.

    Sportsfishing:
    Favorite catch includes rockfish, perch and sheepshead. Special restrictions apply as some waters are under national park protection.

    Camping:
    Many primitive camping facilities are found on several of the islands. Contact park headquarters for details.


Adventure Links Island Tour - Channel Islands National Park

    Anacapa Island
    Closest to the mainland is this group of three islets (about 700 acres size) located 11 miles south of Oxnard. A Coast Guard lighthouse still stands after being abandoned in 1969. Primitive camping. West Anacapa is a sanctuary for Brown Pelican. East Anacapa is home to Giant Coreopsis - a tree like sunflower that blossoms bright yellow in early Spring.

    Ocean waves have eroded the perimeter of the island, creating steep sea cliffs towering hundreds of feet in height and exposing the volcanic origins of air pockets, lava tubes, and sea caves. At the east end of Anacapa a natural bridge has formed in the ocean.

    Santa Barbara Island
    Small island 38 miles west of San Pedro. Home to large sea mammal population including the 8,000 lb. bull elephant seal. This is a good area to view the underwater life, in the warmer waters of this southernmost island in the park. Snorkeling in the Landing Cove, visitors can see bright sea stars, spiny sea urchins, and brilliant orange garibaldi. There is a visitor contact station/museum on the island, with exhibits, dioramas, and murals of the natural and cultural resources. Primitive camping available.

    San Miguel Island
    Westernmost island along with small islet, Prince Island. Home to marine mammal colonies, access by permit only. Wind driven sand dunes cover most of the island.

    The Channel Islands' largest land mammal, the island fox, can be seen on San Miguel. The island's fragile treasures include more than 500 relatively undisturbed archeological sites, some dating back as far as 11,000 years. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, discoverer of California, is believed to have wintered and died at Cuyler Harbor in 1543. Although his grave has never been found, a monument overlooking Cuyler Harbor was erected in 1937 to commemorate his northern voyage of exploration.

    From the mid-1940s to the mid-1950s the island was used as a bombing range. Staying of the trail is particularly important because live ordnance is still occasionally uncovered by shifting sands

    Santa Cruz Island
    60,000 acre island (biggest in the national park). Santa Cruz Island's 77 mile varied coastline has steep cliffs, gigantic sea caves, and coves and sandy beaches. The shoreline cliffs, beaches, offshore rocks, and tidepools provide important breeding habitat for colonies of nesting sea birds and diverse plants and animals. The varied topography and ample freshwater support a remarkable array of flora and fauna--more than 600 plant species, 140 land bird species, and a small, distinctive group of other land animals.

    Chumash Indians inhabitated Santa Cruz Island for more that 6,000 years. When Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo arrived in 1542, as many as 2,000 Chumash Indians probably lived here. Ranching began on the island in 1839, with a Mexican land grant to Andres Castillero, and continued to the early 1980s.

    Santa Rosa Island
    53,000 acre (and second largest in the park) island and home to a working cattle range. Primitive camping available.

    Vast grasslands blanket about 85 percent of the island, yet columnar volcanic formations, extensive fossil beds, and highly colored hill slopes are visible. Rocky terraces on the west end provide superb habitat for intertidal organisms. Harbor and elephant seals breed on the island's sandy beaches. On the eastern tip of the island, a unique costal marsh is among the most extensive freshwater habitats found on any of the Channel Islands. The entire island is surrounded by expanses of kelp beds. Consequently, its surrounding waters serve as an invaluable nursery for the sea life that feeds larger marine mammals and the sea birds that breed along the coastal shores and offshore rocks of all the Channel Islands.

    Tour Santa Catalina Island
    Special feature for this vacation destination - a major resort area just south of San Pedro Harbor.
    (Not part of national park.)

    San Clemente Island
    One of the larger islands, this is a U.S. Navy reservation / bombing ground.
    (Not part of national park.)

    San Nicholas
    This small island is a U.S. Navy reservation / missile tracking station.
    (Not part of national park.)


Adventure Links Special Events - Channel Islands National Park


    Whale Migration [Jan-Mar] - California Gray Whales are arriving to their winter nursing grounds off Baja California.
    Blue Whale Migration [Jun-Oct] - whale watching time for the blue and humpback whales.
    Giant Sunflowers Blossom [Mar-Apr] - East Anacapa is home to Giant Coreopsis - a tree like sunflower that blossoms bright yellow in early Spring.

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Channel Islands National Park