April 28, 2015

Perks of a Park! CHANNEL ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK, that is!

Some parks are large and some are small.  Some are steeping in military tradition and some are lessons in patent law... who knew?  But no matter their size or influence, our parks serve us in ways you might never have imagined.  Sure, you can travel to the bottom of a canyon carved over millions of years by the mighty Colorado.  And, yes, you can exercise your 'Wild' side on the Pacific Crest Trail with a side trip to Mt. Whitney.  All the while and along the way you'll be rejuvenated and inspired!  But did you know our National Parks provide a unique and significant economic benefit too?

According to a peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis just released, our National Parks provide a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $29.7 billion.  That's right: BILLION with a B!  Talk about AMERICA'S GREAT IDEA!  

Here locally, at Channel Islands National Park visitors spent an estimated $20.2 Million in local gateway regions during their stays. These expenditures supported a total of 290
jobs, $11.4 Million in labor income, $17.6 Million in value added, and $28.6 Million in economic output for the communities surrounding Channel Islands National Park.

So next time you gaze out to sea wondering about those land masses off our coast; those five islands that comprise Channel Islands National Park, remember the jobs, spending and overall economic benefit they bring to our communities and to our state. 

Want to see more? Follow this link! http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/vse.cfm

We said it before and we'll keep saying it:  Have you FOUND YOUR PARK?

April 18, 2015


Photo credit: Tim Hauf, timhaufphotography.com
What an amazing time to be alive and engaged with the world around you!  There are no shortages of options to share your passion with like minded people across the globe... Updates on Facebook? Of course!  Pin your favorite idea for a DIY project on Pinterest?  You bet!  That stellar image of Inspiration Point on Anacapa Island to Instragram?  Yes, please!  See where we're going with this?

Its time to get out and explore... the world awaits!  And if you have friends and family flung to the far corners of the planet, its OK.  Everything you experience here can be easily shared through social media creating virtual gatherings that build memories for a lifetime!

So FIND YOUR PARK this week during National Park Week and share what you discover!  Start by grabbing the kids and heading down to Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center for Junior Ranger Day. Did you know that Channel Islands National Park offers four different junior ranger programs? That's worthy of a post on Facebook right there!

Photo credit:Vahagn Nahabedian
Kids can complete the  visitor center and island junior ranger programs of course, but can also become Junior Ranger Underwater Explorers, Paleontologists, Wilderness Explorers, and Night Explorers! How's that for a whole lot of exploring!

Check out  http://www.nps.gov/chis/learn/kidsyouth/beajuniorranger.htm for more information.

Maybe photography is your passion?  Then consider a visit to Channel Islands National Park visitor center Sunday April 19th at 11:00am for the first EVER, nationwide Instameet!  Rangers will host a Tidepool Talk sharing information about fascinating ocean animals including California's own state fish, the Girabaldi!  
Photo credit: Brett Seymour

After the program, participate by snapping a shot of your favorite Channel Islands ocean critter and post using ‪#‎ChannelIslandsInstaMeet‬ or #‎FindYourParkInstaMeet‬ and tagging @NationalParkService and @GoParks on Instagram!  

You'll be trending before you know it!

Whatever your passion, however you choose to share, its time to get out there and FIND YOUR PARK!  

March 30, 2015

Have You Found YOUR Park Yet?

2016 marks the Centennial Celebration of the National Park Service.  100 years of exploration; 100 years of adventure; 100 years of service to the people of this great country and visitors from around the world!

So we ask you:  Have you found YOUR park?  We have and we know there is a park for everyone!  From Dinosaur National Monument with its over 1500 remarkably preserved dinosaur fossils to the Pony Express National Historic Trail where you can follow in the footsteps of the fastest mail carriers in the west!  We bet you never expected there was such diversity in our National Park network!

Of course our personal favorite is Channel Islands National Park located right off the coast of Southern California.  Comprised of five remarkable islands and almost 200 square miles of ocean, the Channel Islands sustain habitats that are rarely intact on the mainland.  From abundant Giant Goreopsis to tiny live-forever Dudleya the range of life on these isolated islands provides the citizen scientist with hours (and maybe days) of exploration.

Interested in evolutionary biology?  Consider the endemic Santa Cruz Island scrub jay.  This noisy inhabitant of oak and chaparral environments is the subject of a recent report in the journal Evolution.  You can read more about the divergence found within a single population here.  

Or maybe the Island Fox holds your heart!  Driven to near extinction by factors including the opportunistic Golden Eagle, the island fox recovery program has successfully brought these furry favorites back to healthy, sustainable numbers and has recently recommended the species be removed from the endangered list!

Whatever motivates you; whatever interests you, we are confident you will find your muse at Channel Islands National Park.  So come on!  Its time to FIND YOUR PARK!

March 4, 2015

Happy Birthday Channel Islands National Park!

Tomorrow, March 5th marks the 35th anniversary of Channel Islands National Park!  Help us celebrate these five remarkable islands and surrounding waters that comprise the park with a deep dive UP the lookout tower at the Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center in Ventura Harbor.

In conjunction with the park anniversary the newly completed ocean exhibit will be officially opened to the public Thursday, March 5th starting at 4:30pm with a ribbon cutting at 5:30 pm.  Local dignitaries and park personnel will be on hand to welcome visitors and answer questions.  

Not to be missed, these new exhibits interpret the ocean resources and marine reserves found within the national park and surrounding national marine sanctuary.  The space lends itself naturally to transformation into an underwater world where visitors can climb through different sea levels from the deep sea to the ocean surface.  

So come celebrate with us!  And while here, stop in the book store and explore the tidepool exhibit or read about the endangered Island Fox and its remarkable and unprecedented story of recovery.

There is much to see and much to CELEBRATE!

January 21, 2015

Pirates of the Caribbean ala' Ventura Harbor!

Every kid out there remembers playing pirate!  Black patch over one eye, and a hearty drawl of 'Matey' completes the image for many of us with, of course, the imaginary parrot on our shoulder calling 'Polly want a cracker'!

So what's keeping you from playing kid again?  Now through February 1st, Ventura Harbor is hosting both the Hawaiian Chieftain and The Lady Washington.  These majestic tall ships are replicas of ships that plied the seas in the 1800's.  

Want to learn more or step on deck?  While the tall ships are at the harbor, dockside tours offer people a chance to peek around the ships and talk to the volunteer and paid personnel from Grays Harbor Historical Seaport, who dress in period clothing and answer questions about life at sea centuries ago.

The dockside tours run from 4-5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays on both ships and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays on one ship. 

So unleash your inner child and bring your kids too!  Its a great day of learning about life at sea.  And while you're at the harbor, take some time to visit Channel Islands National Park headquarters at the very end of Spinnaker Drive.  Join National Park Service rangers in the visitor center as they show and tell about the many fascinating animals and plants in the marine life exhibit or have a seat in the auditorium and marvel at the beauty of the islands watching Treasure in the Sea. 

There is much to see and even more to learn!  Bring the family and make a day of it at Ventura Harbor!

October 21, 2014

Art & Poetry Extraordinaire!

Each year the California Coastal Commission hosts an art and poetry contest open to California residents in kindergarten through 12th grades.  And each year the talent and creativity of these young artists and poets is phenomenal!  

This year is no exception and you can see for yourself just how beautiful their work is by visiting the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center on Spinnaker Drive in Ventura Harbor.  On display you'll see over 30 pieces of art and poetry that were selected as winners from 2,331 entries. 

The contest is held annually to encourage youth to reflect on the beauty and spirit of California's coasts and ocean. Through this effort the California Coastal Commission hopes to inspire a greater sense of appreciation and stewardship for these natural places.

Want to be a part of the contest next year?  Visit the California Coastal Commission website for more information!

October 7, 2014

Peregrin Falcons Experience Recovery on the California Channel Islands!

Biologist Dr. Peter Sharpe with the Institute for Wildlife Studies will discuss the recovery of peregrine falcons on the California Channel Islands during the October From Shore to Sea lecture. 

Today, there are at least 45 pairs of peregrine falcons holding territories with successful nests on eight islands following their extirpation in 1955 as a result of the effects of DDT.

Historically, peregrine falcons were common residents on all eight of the California Channel Islands. Their numbers plummeted across much of the northern hemisphere starting in the late 1940s. Banning of DDT and nearly 30 years of effort to recover peregrine falcons are beginning to show spectacular results.

Sharpe will give an overview of the history of peregrine falcons on the Channel Islands, including the cause of their disappearance from the islands and efforts made to restore a breeding population. He will summarize the results of the ongoing survey efforts that are helping us better understand their current status.

Sharpe received his PhD in zoology from Colorado State University in 1998. He has been directing the bald eagle restoration program on the Channel Islands for the nonprofit Institute for Wildlife Studies since 1997. Additionally, Sharpe has taken part in the research and management of other species found on the islands, including the island fox, golden eagle, osprey, and loggerhead shrike.

The talk will be held on October 8, 2014. The From Shore to Sea lecture series is sponsored by Channel Islands National Park to further the understanding of current research on the Channel Islands and surrounding marine waters. The lectures occur at 7:00 pm on the second Wednesday of March, April, May, September, October, and November at the Channel Islands National Park Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center, 1901 Spinnaker Drive in Ventura Harbor. The programs are free and open to the public.