World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Santa Rosa Island, California

Map of Channel Islands
Santa Rosa Island
Orcas near Santa Rosa Island

Santa Rosa Island is the second largest of the Channel Islands of California at 53,195 acres (215.27 km² or 83.118 sq mi). Defined by the United States Census Bureau as Block 3009, Block Group 3, Census Tract 29.10 of Santa Barbara County, California. It is part of Channel Islands National Park.[1] Highest peak is Vail Peak, at 1,589 feet (484 m).

Santa Rosa is located about 26 miles (42 km) off the coast of Santa Barbara, California in Santa Barbara County.

It is occupied by rolling hills, deep canyons, a coastal lagoon and beaches adorned with sand dunes and driftwood. The Chumash, a Native American people who lived in the Channel Islands at the time of European contact, called the driftwood wima because channel currents brought ashore logs from which they built tomols (plank canoes).

There are a variety of recreational activities to take part in on Santa Rosa Island, including kayaking, camping and hiking. A private boat charter company offers a number of trips to the island year round, and camping reservations can be made through Channel Islands National Park offices in Ventura, CA.

A year-round charter flight service is available from Camarillo Airport for hikers and campers to Santa Rosa Island.


  • History 1
    • Early History 1.1
    • Mexican land grant 1.2
    • Vail Ranch 1.3
    • Recent history 1.4
    • National Park 1.5
  • CSUCI Santa Rosa Island Research Station 2
  • Ecology and climate 3
  • Gallery 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8


Early History

During the last ice age, the four northern Channel Islands, including Santa Rosa Island, were conjoined into Santa Rosae, a single island that was only five miles (8 km) off the coast. In 1960, archaeologists discovered the remains of 13,000 year-old Arlington Springs Man, among the oldest human remains in the Americas, on the island. Pygmy mammoths (Mammuthus exilis) have also been excavated there.[2]

Mexican land grant

Governor Manuel Micheltorena made a Mexican land grant of the island of Santa Rosa to brothers José Antonio Carrillo and Carlos Antonio Carrillo in 1843. They gave the island to Carlos daughters, Manuela Carrillo de Jones and Francisca Carrillo de Thompson. Their husbands - John Coffin Jones (1796–1861) and Alpheus Basil Thompson (1795–1869) - entered into a partnership to manage the island. A claim was filed with the Public Land Commission in 1852,[3] but the grant was not patented to Manuela Carrillo de Jones and Francisca Carrillo de Thompson until 1871.[4] The acrimonious Thompson-Jones partnership ended in 1859, and by 1862 T. Wallace More owned the whole island. The island was used as a sheep ranch during the late 19th century by the More family.

Vail Ranch

The More family sold the island to Walter L. Vail and J. W. Vickers in 1902, forming the Vail & Vickers Company of Santa Barbara. The partnership used the island for cattle ranching and a private hunting reserve.

Recent history

The United States Air Force maintained a radar base on the island during the Cold War.

In the late 1970s Mobil Oil Corporation was granted exploration rights on the island. Both explosive and vibroseis exploration methods were used. Extensive surveys and geological maps were made at that time.

National Park

In 1980, Santa Rosa Island was included within Channel Islands National Park over the objections of Vail & Vickers, which then successfully lobbied to have the legislation stipulate that purchase of their land would be the highest priority of the Channel Islands National Park. Vail & Vickers sold the island in 1986 for the appraised value of nearly $30 million, which worked out to around $550 per acre. The sale agreement allowed continuation of the ranching and hunting operation for 3 months. Subsequently, the NPS issued a series of five-year renewable special use permits. A lawsuit by the National Parks Conservation Association in 1996 resulted in a court-approved settlement agreement which included removal of all cattle from the island and phased reduction by Vail & Vickers of the non-native deer and elk by 2011.

In 2006 U.S. Representative Omnibus appropriations bill,[5] also signed into law by President George W. Bush.

Munchkin Dudleya, an endemic plant species.

Douglas Hughes, a California governor candidate in 2010, proposed that sex offenders be moved to the island if they opt not to leave California or remain in prison.[6][7]

CSUCI Santa Rosa Island Research Station

In November 2012 the National Park Service (NPS) issued a permit to California State University, Channel Islands(CI) to operate a field research station on Santa Rosa Island. The station will operate from existing facilities provided by the NPS. The CSUCI Santa Rosa Island Research Station (SRIRS) supports the engagement of students across academic levels in inquiry-rich learning experiences that develop and support student knowledge and critical thinking skills. The Mission of the CSUCI Santa Rosa Island Research Station is to encourage and advance the interdisciplinary knowledge and stewardship of our natural and cultural resources through long-term research, inquiry-based education, and public outreach. The successful management of our resources is dependent upon integrating the knowledge and perspectives of individuals across disciplines and backgrounds. The CSUCI Santa Rosa Island Research Station seeks to cultivate a diverse community of scholars that will identify resource management problems and initiate innovative solutions. The ability of the Santa Rosa Island Research Station community to confront management challenges from multiple perspectives will enable it to react energetically, adeptly, and successfully to our changing natural and human landscapes.[8]

Ecology and climate

Torrey Pine Grove on Santa Rosa island. View towards Santa Cruz Island.

A variety of the Torrey Pine (Pinus torreyana var. insularis) grows on the island. The population of this endangered species is estimated at approximately 1000 trees. The Island Oak (Quercus tomentella) is native to the island.

Flightless geese, giant mice and pygmy mammoths are extinct, while the island fox, spotted skunk, and munchkin dudleya (Dudleya gnoma)[9] (one of the six endemic plant species on the island) still live there. The island is home to one of only three known populations of Hoffman's rockcress.[10]

Its surrounding waters serve as an invaluable nursery for the sea life that feeds larger marine mammals and seabirds. Great White Sharks are fairly common in the northern Channel Islands (especially San Miguel and Santa Rosa) and feed on the abundant marine mammals.

The rare endemic lichen Caloplaca obamae, discovered in 2007 and described by Kerry Knudsen in 2009, commemorates United States President Barack Obama.

Santa Rosa Island has a temperate marine climate. In winter, frosts are almost unknown, and in summer cool fogs make heat waves rare. Most of the rain falls from November to March. Annual precipitation totals are about 15 inches on the coast to almost 20 inches on the higher slopes. Summers are dry except for fog drizzle.


See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Carlson, Cheri (October 2, 2013) "Fossil found on Santa Rosa Island may reveal new information on pygmy mammoths" Ventura County Star
  3. ^ United States. District Court (California : Southern District) Land Case 56 SD
  4. ^ Report of the Surveyor General 1844 - 1886
  5. ^ "National Park Budget Increase, Channel Islands Protections in Omnibus".  
  6. ^ Neil Katz (May 19, 2010), Welcome to Pedophile Island: Calif. Candidate Douglas Hughes Has Grand Plan for Child Molesters, CBS News 
  7. ^ Pat McMahon (May 21, 2010), Douglas Hughes, Ca. gubernatorial candidate, wants to create a ‘Pedophile Island’ off of the coast, The Daily Caller 
  8. ^ Carlson, Cheri (August 13, 2014) "Research takes off at Santa Rosa Island field station" Ventura County Star
  9. ^ D. gnomaThe Nature Conservancy:
  10. ^ Boechera hoffmanniiCenter for Plant Conservation:

Further reading

  • U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Survey. (1975). Bathymetric map: California, southwest of Santa Rosa Island [Scale 1:250,000 ; transverse Mercator proj. (W 140°—W 120°/N 56°—N 48°)]. Washington, D.C.: author.
  • Statement of Timothy B. Vail, D.V.M On behalf of Vail & Vickers Company Santa Rosa Island, California before the Subcommittee on National Parks of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Legislative Hearing on S. 1209 Held on May 15, 2007

External links

  • Channel Islands National Park website —by the National Park Service.
  • Santa Cruz Island Foundation: History of Santa Cruz Island
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.