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Near & Far
updated: Feb 04, 2014, 7:24 AM

By John Wiley

Santa Cruz Island is near for me, say looking on a clear day 26 miles across the Channel or making the short flight over. Yet it's so far, for example getting there via the concession boat from Ventura. In a way, even flying seems far for me because I make the slow climb to go very high for the crossing so it takes much longer than say simply flying 26 miles along our coast. But it also seems far because it's always so strange and new. Tuesday we flew some NYC friends out for a look, and I saw this arch from a new angle. I'd never noticed this secluded inland canyon. How many of us have ever spent more than a few hours on any of these islands so near, yet so far?

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Source: Public Affairs News: (added at 1:20 pm by the Dedicated Staff)

Treasure Island
With its perfect combination of remoteness and proximity, UC Santa Barbara’s Santa Cruz Island Reserve offers both researchers and visitors an experience they’ll never forget

Island foxes. The world’s largest sea cave. Thousands of years of ancient Chumash civilization preserved in pristine condition, and a sense of how Southern California might have been before all the freeways and tract homes. All of this is contained within the 96 square miles that makes up Santa Cruz Island.

Located just over 20 miles off the coast of Southern California, Santa Cruz Island is the largest of the chain known as the Channel Islands.

“It’s like what Southern California looked like a hundred years or more ago,” said Lyndal Laughrin, director of the UC Santa Barbara Santa Cruz Island Reserve (SCIR). Drought-resistant chaparral gives way to pine trees at elevation, endemic manzanitas spread across the landscape and native grasses are returning after decades of ranching and wine making. The scenery is vast and breathtaking, virtually unchanged from what the native Chumash witnessed in their millennia of existence on the island. The island’s geography makes it a strategic place to study a diversity of sea-dwelling life forms. Meanwhile, endemic species, cut off from their mainland counterparts for generations, have taken different evolutionary routes, earning the island comparisons to the famed Galapagos.


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