The Channel Islands are considered one of our state's most magnificent
treasures. The eight islands lie just off California's southern coast
and are named Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, Santa Barbara,
San Nicholas, San Clemente and Santa Catalina. In 1980, Congress designated
five of the islands as a national park because they possess unique natural
and cultural resources.
Although each of the islands is diverse, they are all connected by a
common bond. Carol Spears with the National Park Service explains, "All
of the islands were used for sheep ranching in the mid-1800's through
the turn of the century. The climate of the area produced sheep that had
a really fine wool and that wool was in high demand throughout the country."
Today, there are no longer any sheep on the islands, but there is still
plenty to learn about and see. So, we took a trip to Anacapa Island to
find out more.
As we approached the island, a lush underwater forest of kelp came into
view. It provides the perfect haven for lobster, abalone, and scallops.
But, commercial fishing is restricted for one nautical mile surrounding
Anacapa and the other islands of the national park.
Once on land, we found a trace of the island's agricultural history,
the Island Indian Onion. It is a purple flower that contains a bulb that
the Chumash Indians would eat. Because there is no water source, it is
believed the Indians did not live on the island, but used it as a hunting
ground for sea lions, shellfish, and seals.
In 1907, however, Heaman Bayfield Webster moved to the island and raised
sheep with his family. On Santa Cruz Island, the agricultural history goes back even farther.
In 1839, ranching began there through a Mexican land grant. Besides raising
sheep and cattle, the island produced olives, honey, and even wine.
So, if you're looking for a new adventure that combines beautiful scenery
with a touch of California's agricultural history, experience the Channel
For more information contact Island Packers, Inc. at the address or phone
number listed below.
Island Packers, Inc.
1867 Spinnaker Drive
Ventura, CA 93001