|Native name: |
ESA satellite image of Santa Cruz Island
|Area||250 km2 (97 sq mi)|
|Length||35 km (21.7 mi)|
|Width||10 km (6 mi)|
|Highest elevation||740 m (2,430 ft)|
|Highest point||Devils Peak|
|Population||Rangers and tourists are the only residents|
Santa Cruz Island (Spanish: Isla Santa Cruz, Chumash: Limuw 22 miles (35 km) long and 2 to 6 miles (3 to 10 km) wide with an area of 61,764.6 acres (249.952 km2).) is located off the southwestern coast of California, United States. It is the largest island in California, and largest of the eight islands in the Channel Islands archipelago. Forming part of the northern group of the Channel Islands, Santa Cruz is
The island's coastline has steep cliffs, large sea caves, coves, and sandy beaches. The highest point is Devils Peak, at over 2,450 feet (747 m). A central valley splits the island along the Santa Cruz Island Fault, with volcanic rock on the north and older sedimentary rock on the south. This volcanic rock was heavily fractured during an uplift phase that formed the island, and over a hundred large sea caves have been carved into the resulting faults. The largest of these is Painted Cave, among[ quantify ] the world's largest.
For administrative purposes the island is part of Santa Barbara County, California. The 2000 census showed an official population of two people.Santa Cruz is the largest privately owned island off the continental United States. Ownership is split between the National Park Service (24%) and the Nature Conservancy (76%).
Santa Cruz Island is home to some endemic species of animals and plants, including the Santa Cruz Island fox (Urocyon littoralis santacruzae), a subspecies of the island fox.
Archaeological investigations indicate that Santa Cruz Island has been occupied for at least 10,000 years. It was known as Limuw (place of the sea) or Michumash in the Chumash language.The Chumash people who lived on the island developed a highly complex society dependent on marine harvest, craft specialization and trade with the mainland population. Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo first observed the island in 1542, later estimated to be inhabited by 2,000 to 3,000 Chumash on the three northern Channel Islands, with 11 villages on Santa Cruz.
In 1602, Sebastián Vizcaíno led the last Spanish expedition to California. His map named Santa Cruz Island the Isla de Gente Barbuda (island of the bearded people). Between 1602 and 1769 there was no recorded European contact with the island. Finally, in 1769, the land-and-sea expedition of Don Gaspar de Portolà reached Santa Cruz Island. Traveling with him were Father Juan González Vizcaíno and Father Francisco Palóu. Father Palóu wrote of Father Vizcaíno's visit to the Santa Cruz village of Xaxas that the missionaries on ship went ashore and "they were well received by the heathen and presented with fish, in return for which the Indians were given some strings of beads." The island was considered for establishment of a Catholic mission to serve the large Chumash population. When Mission San Buenaventura was founded across the channel in 1782, it commenced the slow religious conversion of the Santa Cruz Chumash. Beset by diseases such as measles, the Chumash declined in numbers until, in 1822, the last of the Chumash left the island for mainland California missions. 100:
The name of Santa Cruz for the island came about when Gaspar de Portola expedition visited the Chumash village Xaxas on the island. The Chumash on the next day returned a staff, topped by an iron cross, which had been inadvertently left behind by the Spanish. Hence, the name La Isla de la Santa Cruz (island of the holy cross) appeared on their exploration map of 1770. George Vancouver used the same name on his 1793 map.
With Mexico's independence from Spain in 1821, the Mexican government asserted its control over Alta California. In an effort to increase the Mexican presence, the government began sending convicted criminals to California in 1830. Around 80 prisoners were sent to Santa Barbara where, upon arrival, 31 incorrigibles were sent to Santa Cruz Island. They lived for a short time in an area now known as Prisoners' Harbor before escaping to the mainland. 100:
Governor Juan Alvarado made a Mexican land grant of the Island of Santa Cruz to his aide Captain Andrés Castillero in 1839. When California became a state in 1850, the United States government, through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, required that land previously granted by Spanish and Mexican governments be proved before the Board of Land Commissioners. A claim was filed with the Land Commission in 1852, 101–102 Castillero transferred title to his agent William Barron in 1857.confirmed by the US Supreme Court in 1860, and the grant was patented to Andrés Castillero in 1867. :
William Baron was a San Francisco businessman and co-owner of the company Barron, Forbes & Co. Dr. James Barron Shaw was hired to manage things, and charged by Barron to start a sheep operation. He built corrals and houses for himself and his employees and expanded the road system. He imported cattle, horses, and sheep to the island and erected one of the earliest wharves along the California coast at Prisoners' Harbor. Shaw was the first rancher to ship sheep to San Francisco by steamer, some selling at $30 per animal. By 1869, the year he left Santa Cruz, Shaw's island sheep ranch was well known, and some 24,000 sheep grazed the hills and valleys of Santa Cruz Island. 102 At that time, the gross proceeds from the ranch on Santa Cruz Island were supposedly $50,000. :102–103 Barron sold the island for $150,000 in 1869, and Shaw left for San Francisco and Los Alamos where he continued ranching.:
The island was purchased by ten investors from San Francisco, headed by Gustave Mahé. One of the investors, Justinian Caire, was a French immigrant and founder of a successful San Francisco hardware business that sold equipment to miners. By 1886 Caire had acquired all of the shares of the Santa Cruz Island Company which he and his colleagues had founded in 1869. He then implemented his vision of building a self-sustaining sheep and cattle ranch, vineyard, nut and fruit grove operation on the island. Main Ranch was augmented with nine other ranches, Prisoners' Harbor, Christy, Scorpion, Smugglers, Forney's Cove/Rancho Nuevo, Poso, Buena Vista Portezuela, and Sur Ranch. In 1885, he operated the largest private telephone system in the US at that time. A post office operated from 1895 until 1903, while there were 110 workers on the island in 1889. The operation received water from four springs, El Pato, Gallina, The Dindos and The Peacock, which fed into a 26,000 gallon reservoir, tanks and dams. The vineyard was planted in 1884 and by 1895, the winery was maturing 86,000 gallons from the 200 acre vineyard.
Justinian Caire's will stipulated his two sons, Arthur and Frederic, were to be executors of his will and continue management of operations with little change, though Justinian signed over to his wife Albina, all shares in the Justinian Caire Company and Santa Cruz Company the year before he died in 1897. His sons continued a successful livestock, winemaking [ page needed ] and ranching industry on the island after his death, at least until Albina distributed Santa Cruz Island Company shares amongst her children between late 1910 and early 1911. :104–138 Albina, Fred, Arthur, Delphine and Helene received 86 percent of the stock, while the two married daughters Amelie and Aglaë received 14 percent. Beginning in 1910 an extended and complicated litigation was brought by Caire's two married daughters against their mother and four siblings. The married daughters' families, led by in-law Ambrose Gherini, retained 6,000 acres (2,428 ha) on the east end of the island. But the majority of Caire's descendants were compelled in to sell the remaining 90 percent of the island, in 1937, to pay their legal costs. :138–157
The buyer was Los Angeles oilman Edwin Stanton. Stanton's purchase of the major part of Santa Cruz Island brought a major shift in agricultural production on the island. After trying for a short time to continue the sheep operation, bringing in 10,000 head, he decided to switch to beef production. At the time, the beef industry in California was growing rapidly, with Santa Barbara County among the top ten beef producers in the state. 157–159Edwin Stanton's ranch on Santa Cruz Island saw changes that reflected the evolution of cattle ranching in a working landscape. While retaining most of the 19th century structures dating from the Caire period, Stanton constructed a few buildings to meet the needs of his cattle ranch, the most notable of which is Rancho del Norte on the isthmus. Pasture fencing and corrals were altered to suit the cattle operation and an extensive water system was added to provide water to the cattle. :
The Gherini family, descendants of Justinian Caire's two daughters who successfully sued to break up Caire's legacy, continued their sheep ranching operations on the east end of Santa Cruz Island until 1984, using Scorpion Ranch as their base. This was the area east of the Montañon range, which included Scorpion Harbor and Smugglers Cove. They managed the island with resident managers and laborers and often worked as a family during shearing and during the summer. Production dropped during the 1970s and 1980s and the expense of ranching on a remote island rose.
Protracted litigation between the Gherinis and the federal government started in 1980, when the northern Channel Islands were designated a national park and Congress authorized the purchase of the family's remaining land. But the purchase was held up as family members pushed the federal government to pay what they believed was the appropriate amount. In the early 1990s, the government managed to buy the interests of Francis Gherini's three siblings for about $4 million apiece. But the former Oxnard attorney continued to insist that the offer was too low, keeping his 25% interest in the 6,264-acre (25.35 km2) ranch and leaving the Park Service with 75%, effectively blocking the establishment of the park. After 16 years of negotiation, in November 1996, government officials settled with Gherini for 14 million dollars which included 2 million dollars in back interest, clearing the way for the park to be opened to the public. 138–157The last of the 10,000 sheep on the island were removed by 1999. :
With Edwin Stanton's death in 1964, his widow and son, Carey, re-incorporated the Santa Cruz Island Company and continued the cattle operations on the island. Carey Stanton died unexpectedly in 1987 at the ranch and was buried in the family plot in the island chapel yard at the Main Ranch. The real property passed to The Nature Conservancy through a prior agreement that Carey Stanton had established with the non-profit organization. [ page needed ] They also were able to eliminate the last of the feral pigs by 2006. :160–165The Nature Conservancy rapidly liquidated the cattle operation and ended the ranching era on the island.
Santa Cruz was a base for otter hunters, fishermen, and smugglers. The Channel Islands often provided smugglers and bootleggers with convenient yet isolated hideaways where they could store their goods. One such area is known today as Smugglers Cove.
George Nidever recalled hunting otter at Santa Cruz in the winter of 1835–36. Working from a base camp at Santa Rosa Island, he and two others obtained 60 skins that season. Fishermen encamped on the island, trading fish for other goods from passing boats.
Several movies were shot on the island, including Peter Pan and The Rescue . 148:
The Richfield Oil Corporation acquired an exploration lease in 1954 but did not find oil. 160:
UC Santa Barbara established a summer geology class in 1963, and the Santa Cruz Island Field Station in 1966. 161:
The Santa Cruz Island Hunt Club operated from 1966 until 1985, beginning as a sheep and pig hunting during a rifle season and an archery season. 162:
The United States military began to use Santa Cruz Island during World War II, and has constructed and maintained strategic installations on the island. Like all of the Channel Islands, Santa Cruz Island was used as an early warning outpost for observing enemy planes and ships during World War II. During the Cold War a communications station was installed as a part of the Pacific Missile Range Facility. This station remains in operation, although not at the levels of use seen in the 1950s and 1960s.
In 1936 the Caire family reportedly offered their 90% of the island for $750,000 to the state of California for use as a state or federal park. Nothing came of this proposal, and the property was sold to Edwin Stanton. Stanton's son and heir was not interested in a government purchase of his island. He took steps to avoid such events by forging an agreement with The Nature Conservancy, and the property was transferred to the organization upon his death in 1987. Although Santa Cruz Island is included within the boundaries of Channel Islands National Park, The Nature Conservancy portion of the island does not belong to the park. A gift of 8,500 acres (34 km2) from the Nature Conservancy to the park was completed in 2000.
Channel Islands National Park owns and operates approximately 24% of Santa Cruz Island. The remaining land, known as the Santa Cruz Island Reserve, is used for scientific research and education, and is managed by a combination of organizations which includes The Nature Conservancy, the University of California Natural Reserve System, and the Santa Cruz Island Foundation. The Reserve and its staff provides accommodations for visiting students and researchers.
Introduced and invasive species on Santa Cruz Island include:
Native species include:
The native plant communities of Santa Cruz Island include chaparral, oak woodland, Bishop pine (Pinus muriacata) forest, grassland and coastal sage scrub. Where sheep grazing was prevalent, the native plant cover has been damaged, and erosion and gullying has been a problem in some areas. The native plant communities are slowly recovering since the removal of feral sheep and pigs.
Bald eagles were once numerous on California's Channel Islands. Because of eggshell thinning caused by DDT and other factors, successful bald eagle nesting in the northern Channel Islands ended by 1949. By the 1960s, bald eagles could no longer be found on any of the Channel Islands.
As of 2013 [update] , there were five breeding pairs on Santa Cruz Island, two on Santa Rosa, and one on Anacapa, and a total of over 40 bald eagles on the northern Channel Islands. Between 2002 and 2006, the Channel Islands National Park (in conjunction with partner, Institute for Wildlife Studies) introduced sixty-one young bald eagles to the northern Channel Islands, using a "hacking" process of keeping 8 weeks old eagles in one of two hack towers on Santa Cruz Island, until at age three months, they were ready to fly. On the Channel Islands, where large trees are scarce, bald eagles have built nests on cliff faces, rock shelves and shallow cliffs, as well as in island pines and Torrey pines. One pair even attempted nesting in a grassland on Santa Cruz Island. In 2006, for the first time in over 50 years, a bald eagle hatched on Santa Cruz Island.
Because nesting bald eagles can deter golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) from breeding, the recovery of bald eagles on the northern Channel Islands has also helped enable recovery of the endangered island fox. Golden eagle predation had been responsible for the steep decline of island foxes on the northern Channel Islands in the 1990s.
The climate of Santa Cruz Island is marine temperate, with frosts rare and snow almost unknown except very rarely on the highest mountain slopes. Annual rainfall varies from about 16 inches (410 mm) on the shoreline, to 25 inches (640 mm) on the highest mountain slopes. Precipitation is highly variable from year to year, with wet years alternating with drought years. Most of the rain falls from November to March. Summers are dry, but often overcast and cool with coastal fog.
|Climate data for Santa Cruz Island|
|Record high °F (°C)||86|
|Average high °F (°C)||64|
|Daily mean °F (°C)||53|
|Average low °F (°C)||41|
|Record low °F (°C)||24|
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||3.5|
|Source: The Weather Channel|
Santa Cruz Island has several airstrips:
The Chumash are a Native American people who historically inhabited the central and southern coastal regions of California, in portions of what is now San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, extending from Morro Bay in the north to Malibu in the south. They also occupied three of the Channel Islands: Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel; the smaller island of Anacapa was likely inhabited seasonally due to the lack of a consistent water source.
Anacapa Island is a small volcanic island located about 11 miles (18 km) off the coast of Port Hueneme, California, in Ventura County. The island is composed of a series of narrow islets 6 mi (10 km) long, oriented generally east–west and 5 mi (8 km) east of Santa Cruz Island. The three main islets, East, Middle and West Anacapa, are collectively known as The Anacapas by some authors. All three islets have precipitous cliffs, dropping off steeply into the sea.
The Channel Islands form an eight-island archipelago along the Santa Barbara Channel in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Southern California. Five of the islands are part of Channel Islands National Park, and the waters surrounding these islands make up Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. The islands were first colonized as early as 13,000 years ago. Human remains from that period have been discovered.
Channel Islands National Park is an American national park that consists of five of the eight Channel Islands off the coast of the U.S. state of 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. The park covers 249,561 acres (100,994 ha) of which 79,019 acres (31,978 ha) are owned by the federal government. The Nature Conservancy owns and manages 76% of Santa Cruz Island, the largest island in the park.
The island fox is a small fox that is native to six of the eight Channel Islands of California. There are six subspecies, each unique to the island it lives on, reflecting its evolutionary history. Island foxes are generally docile, show little fear of humans, and are easily tamed. Island foxes played an important role in the spiritual lives of native Channel Islanders. Island foxes have been likely semi-domesticated as pets, used as pelts, or for other functions like pest control.
San Miguel Island is the westernmost of California's Channel Islands, located across the Santa Barbara Channel in the Pacific Ocean, within Santa Barbara County, California. San Miguel is the sixth-largest of the eight Channel Islands at 9,325 acres (3,774 ha), including offshore islands and rocks. Prince Island, 700 m (2,300 ft) off the northeastern coast, measures 35 acres (14 ha) in area. The island, at its farthest extent, is 8 miles (13 km) long and 3.7 miles (6.0 km) wide.
Malibu Creek State Park is a state park of California, United States, preserving the Malibu Creek canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains. The 8,215-acre (3,324 ha) park was established in 1974. Opened to the public in 1976, the park is also a component of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
The Conejo Valley is a region spanning both southeastern Ventura County and northwestern Los Angeles County in Southern California, United States. It is located in the northwestern part of the Greater Los Angeles Area.
Santa Rosa Island is the second largest of the Channel Islands of California at 53,195 acres. Santa Rosa is located about 26 miles (42 km) off the coast of Santa Barbara, California in Santa Barbara County and is part of Channel Islands National Park.
The island scrub-jay also island jay or Santa Cruz jay is a bird in the genus, Aphelocoma, which is endemic to Santa Cruz Island off the coast of Southern California. Of the over 500 breeding bird species in the continental U.S. and Canada, it is the only insular endemic landbird species. The island scrub-jay (ISSJ) is closely related to the California scrub-jay – the coastal population found on the adjacent mainland – but differs in being larger, more brightly colored, and having a markedly stouter bill. They will bury, or cache, the acorns in the fall and may eat them months later. They also eat insects, spiders, snakes, lizards, mice and other birds' eggs and nestlings.
The island spotted skunk is an insular endemic carnivore and a subspecies of the western spotted skunk. Little is known about their exact variations from the mainland spotted skunk and variations between locations, resolution of which awaits further genetic and morphologic evaluation. The skunk is only currently found on two islands off the southern coast of California. Its presence has been recorded on San Miguel Island, but it has since been declared extinct in that area. The Channel Island skunk is one of two terrestrial carnivores on the islands, the other being the island fox. It is designated as a species of special concern by the state of California.
Topanga State Park is a California state park located in the Santa Monica Mountains, within Los Angeles County, California. It is part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
The Catalina Island Conservancy is a nonprofit organization established to protect and restore Santa Catalina Island, California. The Conservancy was established in 1972 through the efforts of the Wrigley and Offield families. The Conservancy was created when both families deeded 42,135 acres (170.51 km2) of the island over to the organization—88% of the Island.
Santa Cruz sheep are an extremely rare breed of domestic sheep that once existed as a feral population on the Santa Cruz Island of the Channel Islands of California. Small and hardy, the sheep were all killed or removed from the island to prevent destruction of natural habitats. Today, they number fewer than 200 animals. This breed is primarily raised for wool.
Santa Catalina Island is a rocky island off the coast of Southern California in the Gulf of Santa Catalina. The island name is often shortened to Catalina Island or just Catalina. The island is 22 mi (35 km) long and 8 mi (13 km) across at its greatest width. The island is located about 29 mi (47 km) south-southwest of Long Beach, California. The highest point on the island is Mount Orizaba. Santa Catalina is part of the Channel Islands of California archipelago and lies within Los Angeles County.
Rancho Santa Rosa was a 47,815-acre (193.50 km2) Mexican land grant in present day Riverside County, California given in 1846 by Governor Pio Pico to Juan Moreno. At the time of the US patent, Rancho Santa Rosa was a part of San Diego County. Riverside County was created by the California Legislature in 1893 by taking land from both San Bernardino and San Diego Counties. The site is now registered as a California Historical Landmark.
When the Killing's Done is a 2011 novel by T. C. Boyle. The book is an environmental and family drama revolving around the Channel Islands of California—specifically Anacapa and Santa Cruz—and the controversy surrounding efforts by the National Park Service and its partners to eradicate invasive species and revitalize the islands' natural communities.
The fauna of the State of California may be the most diverse in the United States of America. Of the Lower 48 conterminous states, California has the greatest diversity in climate, terrain and geology in general. The state's six life zones are the lower Sonoran (desert); upper Sonoran ; transition ; and the Canadian, Hudsonian, and Arctic zones, comprising California's highest elevations. California’s diverse geography gives rise to dozens of different ecosystems, each of which has its own unique native plants and animals. California is a huge state, the 3rd largest in the U.S., and can range broadly in habitat type.
The wildlife of the Channel Islands of California is wide and diverse, including many endemic species. While the land wildlife is slightly limited, there being only one large, naturally predatory, and native mammal, the small island fox, marine life can include anything from kelp forests to great white sharks.
Satwiwa was a former Chumash village in the Santa Monica Mountains of Newbury Park, California. The current Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center is operated by the National Park Service in cooperation with the Friends of Satwiwa. Satwiwa has been inhabited by Chumash Indians for over 10,000 years. It is situated at the foothills of Boney Mountain, a sacred mountain for the Chumash.
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