10 Tips to Minimize Your Impact at Santa Cruz Island

All of our staff are passionate about protecting and preserving the pristine and unique environment at the Channel Islands National Park and we hope that you will help us during your trip. Your guides will give you plenty of tips on the ground on how to minimize your impact buts its always a good idea to come prepared. We suggest reading through the tips below to help you plan ahead.

  1. Plan Ahead 

Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit: If you are taking one of our tours we will brief you on the local regulations when you arrive at Santa Cruz Island. If you are visiting on your own, it’s a good idea to read the local NPS regulations.

  1. Pack Food in Reusable Containers
  • When packing for a trip to the Channel Islands, try to limit the amount of potential trash you bring. Use Tupperware and reusable utensils when packing. Try not to bring things that you won’t need.
  • Ditch the single use plastic bags! These are actually banned at Channel Islands National Park, since they are extremely harmful to wildlife.
  • Consider pre-ordering a delicious lunch from Channel Islands Provisioners which will be delivered to you in a Soft Pac Lunch bag, snap lid containers, with a vintage cotton napkin and stainless-steel cutlery.
  1. Bring a Reusable Water Bottle

Use a reusable water bottle. By not buying plastic water bottles, you save resources and reduce the amount of trash produced. You can refill your bottle with potable water on the island.

  1. Use Reef Safe Sunscreens

Many sunscreens contain chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate which have been reported to have harmful effects on coral, kelp and the development of marine organisms. Please help us protect the marine eco system at Channel Islands National Park by using a natural mineral-based sunscreen. Our top picks are Stream 2 Sea and Badger but there are many other choices available.

  1. Stay on Trail

When hiking, concentrate use on existing trails. Always stay on the trail, especially along the scenic cliffs – the rocks are unstable and many of the cliffs are undercut.

  1. Pack it in, pack it out.

There is no trash service on the islands! You must take all trash back to the mainland. Bring an extra container to store it in. Be mindful of creating micro trash and dropping food scraps. We have picnic blankets available for our guests to borrow to catch these hard to clean up items.

  1. Don’t Feed the Wildlife

Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely: keep it tightly locked in your backpack or in a storage box. We have a lockable box for you to use while we are out on the kayak tour.

Don’t let the foxes and ravens get into your food: Don’t leave your backpack or trash unattended or the ravens and foxes will get into it. The foxes are sneaky and not shy and the ravens are incredibly smart! We have seen them work together to unzip backpacks!

Check out this great video we made specifically for visits to Scorpion Anchorage, Santa Cruz Island.

  1. Leave What You Find

There are many interesting things on the island to look at and it can be tempting top pick them up and take a souvenir. Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them: Everything within the park is protected! Leave it for the next person to enjoy.

  1. Don’t disturb the Wildlife

While kayaking and snorkeling, always follow your guides instructions – they are trained to avoid disturbing wildlife (e.g. nesting sea birds and hauled out pinnipeds) and sensitive marine areas.

Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them: During our kayak tours we are very cautious of disturbing wildlife. The quieter and calmer we are, the more likely we are to have the wildlife stick around. During winter and spring at Santa Cruz Island we see a lot of sea bird nesting activity in and around the caves. our guide will take extra care not to disturb any birds. If you get to close, the adult birds will leave their nest which allows less shy birds like seagulls and ravens to come in and eat the eggs.

  1. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience: Most of us go out to the Channel Islands to relax and enjoy the wilderness so let’s keep it enjoyable for everyone.

Be courteous and yield to other users on the trail

Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises: Listen carefully in the late afternoon and you will hear the foxes yelping, the sea lions barking and the scrub jays chattering away.

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