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Channel Islands National Park of California - Guide to California's Channel Islands National Park

Channel Island National Park Painted Cave

Channel Islands National Park is a national park that consists of five of the eight Channel Islands off the coast of the California, in the Pacific Ocean. Although the islands are close to the shore of densely-populated Southern California, their isolation has left them relatively undeveloped.

Channel Islands National Park is home to a wide variety of significant natural and cultural resources. It was designated a U.S. National Monument on April 26, 1938, and a National Biosphere Reserve in 1976. It was promoted to a National Park on March 5, 1980.

Geography of Channel Islands National Park

The islands within the park extend along the Southern California coast from Point Conception near Santa Barbara to San Pedro, a neighborhood of Los Angeles. Park headquarters and the Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center are located in the city of Ventura.

The Channel Islands National Park maps are shown below where the park consists of 249,354 acres (100,910 ha), half of which are under the ocean, and include the islands of:

San Miguel 9,325 acres
Santa Rosa 52,794 acres
Anacapa 699 acres
Santa Barbara 639 acres
Santa Cruz 60,645 acres 76% owned by the Nature Conservancy, 24% by the National Park Service

Flora and Fauna of Channel Islands National Park

More than 2,000 species of plants and animals can be found within the park. However only three mammals are endemic to the islands, one of which is the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) which is known to carry the sin nombre hantavirus. Spotted Skunk and Channel Islands Fox also are endemic. The Island fence lizard is also endemic to the Channel Islands. Other animals in the park include Island Scrub Jay, harbor seal, California sea lion, island fox, spotted skunk, island night lizard, barn owl, American kestrel, horned lark and meadowlark and California brown pelican. One hundred and forty-five of these species are unique to the islands and found nowhere else in the world. Marine life ranges from microscopic plankton to the endangered blue whale, the largest animal ever to live on earth. Archeological and cultural resources span a period of more than 10,000 years.

How to Visit Channel Islands National Park

The Map to the Robert J. Largomarsino Visitor Center at Channel Islands National Park is located at 1901 spinnaker drive, ventura, CA 93001.

Annual visits to the park's mainland visitor center is around 300,000. Visits to the islands and waters is low, with about 30,000 visitors traveling to the islands, and another 60,000 who go only into park waters. Although most visits occurs in the summer, migrating gray whales and spectacular wildflower displays attract visitors in the winter and spring. Autumn is an excellent time to travel to the park, as well as for diving, as the days are usually sunny, with minimal winds and clear ocean water. Camping is a popular activity on Santa Cruz Island, with visitors arriving at Pirate's Cove on the north shore and staying in the valley beyond. A new island visitor center opened at Scorpion Ranch on Santa Cruz Island on April 6, 2009.

Here is a detailed list of other National Parks of California besides Channel Islands National Park.

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