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Santa Cruz Island Santa Cruz Island

Last Updated: 03/04/2024

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Santa Cruz Island is the largest of the eight Channel Islands, located off the coast of Southern California. These islands are part of Channel Islands National Park, a protected area known for its natural beauty, diverse ecosystems, and rich cultural history. Rangers and tourists are the only residents.
- Geography: Santa Cruz Island is situated about 20 miles off the coast of Ventura, California. It is approximately 22 miles long and varies in width. The island is characterized by rugged cliffs, sea caves, and diverse plant and animal life.

- Flora and Fauna: The island is home to a variety of plant and animal species, some of which are unique to the Channel Islands. Notable wildlife includes island foxes, Channel Islands spotted skunks, and various seabirds. The island's flora ranges from coastal sage scrub to pine forests.

- Human History: Santa Cruz Island has a rich history of human habitation dating back thousands of years. The Chumash people, Native Americans indigenous to the region, lived on the island and left behind archaeological sites, including villages, rock art, and middens.

- Ranching Era: In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Santa Cruz Island was used for ranching activities. The island's landscape was altered during this period, with introduced plants and animals impacting the native ecosystems.

- Conservation: Today, efforts are underway to restore and preserve the natural habitats of Santa Cruz Island. The National Park Service and other organizations work to protect the island's unique ecosystems and educate visitors about its ecological and historical significance.

- Visitor Access: Visitors can reach Santa Cruz Island by boat, typically departing from Ventura or Oxnard. Island Packers is a common ferry service that provides transportation to the island. Scorpion Ranch, located on the eastern end of the island, is a popular destination for day trips and camping. Hiking, kayaking, and wildlife viewing are among the activities enjoyed by visitors.

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