As part of the ongoing effort to remove non-native feral pigs from Santa Cruz Island, the National Park Service is restricting shore access to the eastern part of the island while professional hunters track down and kill the pigs.
I spoke by phone with Yvonne Menard, public information officer for the National Park Service Channel Islands, and she explained that the restrictions have been designed to minimize disruptions to public access. The island has been divided into five zones for the pig-eradication project, with the schedule having been modified so the closure in the most-visited Park Service portion of the island occurs during the winter months.
Between November 1, 2005 and March 20, 2006, no overnight camping will be allowed in the national park (overnight camping by private boaters is never allowed in the non-Park Service portion of the island). The landing area and shore facilities at Scorpion Cove will be open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, as will the hiking trails between there and Cavern Point and Potato Harbor. The park property at Prisoner’s Harbor will remain open 7 days a week, again between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Otherwise, the Park Service portion of the island is closed to the public until March 20.
For more details on the Park Service closure, see this news release at www.nps.gov: Feral pig eradication begins on park property on Santa Cruz Island.
For those of us lucky enough to have access via our own boats to other parts of the island, the situation is slightly different. Going ashore on the western three quarters of the island, which is operated by the Nature Conservancy, requires prior purchase of a per-vessel landing permit. Currently the cost is $15 for a 30-day permit, or $40 for a calendar-year permit. Since the pig hunt began in March, 2005, permit holders may not hike inland; they may only explore the island’s coastline and beaches.
In addition, certain parts of the Nature Conservancy portion of the island are currently closed to all landings. As of September 1, 2005, beach closures are in effect at the following locations:
- Ladys Harbor
- Diablo Anchorage
- Frys Harbor
- Platts Harbor
- Twin Harbors
- Pelican’s Beach
- Tinker’s Cove
- Alamos Beach
- Laguna Harbor
- Playa Larga
- Posa Anchorage
- Sauces Beach
- Christy Beach
The following map shows the beaches currently closed:
For more information, see the following online resources: