Channel Islands

Paul Wellman (file)

Channel Islands

Future of the Channel Islands

Comments Now Accepted on National Park’s Long-Term Management Plan

Tuesday, November 26, 2013
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What should Channel Islands National Park look like 50 years from now? Should the islands be easier to visit and explore? Should there be jeep tours? Should there be a small hotel and café out there? More campgrounds? More trails? More research facilities?

These and every other question about the archipelago, which is located across the Santa Barbara Channel and known as “California’s Galapagos,” are being pondered right now, as the National Park Service seeks feedback on the long-term management plan for the park, one of the nation’s most pristine yet least visited. The environmental report on that plan was recently released, offering three alternatives: the first would do nothing different, the second would enhance the protection of natural and cultural resources, and the third, which is currently the preferred alternative, would enhance those protections while also boosting access, educational, and recreational opportunities. The plan, which has been under development since 2001, will also designate large portions of the islands as official wilderness areas, meaning that development would be blocked there.

“The National Park Service really needs public input on this planning process,” said park spokesperson Yvonne Menard. “It’s an important time for people to make their comments, and it’s fairly easy to do.” Comments can be submitted via the Internet, through the mail, or in person at one of the upcoming meetings on Tuesday, December 3, 6-8 p.m. at the park’s visitor center in the Ventura Harbor or on Wednesday, December 4, 6-8 p.m., at the Santa Barbara Public Library.

Though visitor numbers at the islands are still low compared to other, more easily accessible national parks, Menard did say that visitation has steadily increased, especially on the outer islands of Santa Rosa and San Miguel, thanks in part to the addition of a third boat by the Ventura-based concessionaire Island Packers. “They’re kind of infectious,” said Menard. “Once you visit, you’re locked in for life. Each island has its own face. It’s like having five individual national parks in one.” Go here to see the plan and learn more.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Surprisingly no one has mentioned sending the homeless there...
Beats living in a van down by the river!

touristunfriendly (anonymous profile)
November 26, 2013 at 10:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I went to the site, used the search tool, and could not find the plan. Is there a link? Thanks.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
November 26, 2013 at 12:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Geeze, why do we need this master plan... just leave them alone already, how is that for a plan. Hopefully this doesn't turn into Goleta Beach 2.0.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
November 26, 2013 at 4:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Anyone who has explored out there a bit knows that the islands are extremely rugged/potentially dangerous. We need to be careful about increased access where it could lead to increased need for rescues, more possibility of lawsuits due to death/injury, and a resulting spiral into ever more and more development in the name of "safe access".

Not to mention the many Chumash sites and indigenous flora/fauna.

My vote - leave them exactly as is. Access isn't that easy, so there aren't a lot of yahoos getting into trouble.

cycleboy (anonymous profile)
November 26, 2013 at 4:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The NPS preferred plan would designate most of Santa Rosa Is. as wilderness, but designate "corridors" through it so that the new proposed "vehicular transportation concessionaire" could whisk yuppies through to the most interesting sites, for example the Lobo Canyon trailhead.

Isn't this a bit like providing jeep access to the Ansel Adams Wilderness so the well-heeled can step out of the SUV and walk around for half an hour? Or like providing a shuttle service to the back-country campgrounds down by the Sisquoc River?

If you can't spend the time, don't have the equipment or expertise, you don't get to go there! If you want comfort, go to Catalina, or donate to the Santa Cruz Island Foundation and get invited to the ranch out there. Leave the Channel Islands National Park alone!

RyanOSorress (anonymous profile)
November 27, 2013 at 5:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@Tabatha, the draft plan is here:

The Channel Islands NP website is pretty cool. Interesting "factoids" at the bottom of each page (i.e. the Santa Barbara Island lizard).

Had no idea Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo is (supposedly) buried on San Miguel island.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
November 27, 2013 at 9:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

god forbid that great unwashed (ie, the non enviro-elites) be allowed to go anywhere even CLOSE to these islands....lets make only the exception of the Park Service employees the Conservancy and a few other environmental elitists are the only people allowed there....

thomas592003 (anonymous profile)
November 29, 2013 at 8:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@thomas592003 ... if you want to get out there, all you have to do is call up Island Packers.

But don't sit next to me if you're unwashed.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
November 29, 2013 at 10:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I support Alt #3. It does not seem overly intrusive. However I think the devil is in the details and all concerned posters should plan to attend on Dec.4 at the SB Library. I am concerned that Alt #3 could provide too much development. Access is one thing but stores, restaurants, hotels etc is quite another and I would oppose that.

Noletaman (anonymous profile)
November 30, 2013 at 4:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well, Noletaman, that is exactly what Alternative #3 would do! So why support it?

The Park works perfectly as is. Anyone can get there, go anywhere, and camp on the beach if they want to take the time and make the effort.

The only reason they want to create all these new concessions is to generate revenue so that they can continue to expand the bureaucracy they work for.

Alternative #1, leave it alone, is what embodies the spirit not only of the Isands, but of the National Park Service itself. The National Forest Service is "One Land, Multiple Uses." This is the National Park, and it is not for commercial exploitation!

No SUV tours on Santa Rosa Island!

RyanOSorress (anonymous profile)
November 30, 2013 at 10:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Looks like a great place to open a winery.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 30, 2013 at 11:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Mr.OSosrress: You needn't worry about SUV tours out there because SUV's cannot get out there because they can't drive across water.

Mr. Volok: I don't want a winery out there because the drunk boaters will come back and crash into our dolphinpod.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
December 1, 2013 at 12:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thanks for the link. Alt #2 seems the best wrt restoration. Alt #3 is opening the door a little too wide, for more to rush through. There should be trails not roads. We have all the roads we need over here.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
December 1, 2013 at 7:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

At over 500 pages, the draft plan is more than a casual read.

However, I saved a copy because it looks like a great source of info for planning a future visit.

I'd vote for any plan that strikes a balance between mitigating previous adverse impacts, preserving the "untrammeled" nature of the islands, protecting wildlife habitats, setting aside some wilderness areas, and increasing educational opportunities especially for school kids.

Access seems OK (available, but low key) and I'd hate to more islands becoming another ferry destination for hordes of people. Expanding the mainland visitor centers sounds like a good idea.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
December 1, 2013 at 1:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

dolphinpod: read the document. Alt. #2 and #3 both call for a vehicle transportation concession to be established on SRI.

"Corridors" would be established criss-crossing the "wilderness" they would designate most of the island to be. So you could get a SUV to Lobo Canyon, for example, an example which is specifically given in the document. And so you could go camp on the South side at Johnson's Lee without having to hike or kayak there, as now. Also specifically mentioned in the document.

Can you imagine a "corridor" through the Ansel Adams wilderness so you could get to the best alpine lakes in an SUV? Ludicrous, of course. Then why at CINP??

I, too, support enhanced educational opportunities, even including the proposed research dorms at Bechers that are called for in the plan. But no vehicle transportation concession. No "lodging" and "food service", including new construction, as called for in the plan. Santa Rosa Island is no place for Aramark, or Delaware North Corp.

The only reason why the NPS bureaucrats want to add all these concessions is to exploit the island commercially to generate funds for their self-same bureaucracy.

If you want SUV tours, lodging, food service, etc., there's a place for you. It's called Catalina Island. Keep the Northern Channel Islands wild!

RyanOSorress (anonymous profile)
December 1, 2013 at 2:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Santa Cruz island did indeed have a Winery, grapes that had a special flavor and were highly appreciated in Santa Barbara.

Santa Catalina Island is in the process of planting grapes today.


The NPS has a landing craft in it's Fleet, in Ventura, and certainly can transport vehicles to the Islands.

If the Taxpayers knew the amount of equipment they have already exported to the CINP it would boggle your mind.

Government serves itself and the Money Pit on the islands is very very deep.

Follow the Money and the truth will reveal itself.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
December 1, 2013 at 3:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

agree HGWMV, Justin Caire had 9 varieties of wine from Sta. Cruz, including zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon. Prohibition wiped this out, and there are reportedly no bottles left in existence. My spouse once worked with Dr. Stanton and man did HE have stories about "the good old days" before Prohibition (before he owned it, which was after 1957, I believe). See

DrDan (anonymous profile)
December 1, 2013 at 6:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So basically we're looking at another Yuppie getaway, is that right?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
December 1, 2013 at 6:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Your comments are spot on.

I knew as soon as the NPS built the bridge this would be going on.

Soon there will be a concession stand with snow cones.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
December 2, 2013 at 3:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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