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Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725
Channel Islands National Park Superintendent Russell Galipeau announces a temporary and partial closure will be in effect on National Park Service (NPS) property on Santa Cruz Island to ensure safety during the pig hunt. The closure will occur from November 1, 2005 through March 20, 2006. During this time some day visitation will be allowed at Scorpion Valley and Prisoners Harbor.
"The long-term recovery of the endangered island fox is reliant upon the successful removal of pigs on Santa Cruz Island" Galipeau said, "Feral pig presence is responsible for the decline of the island fox and nine rare island plants, and the destruction of ancient archaeological sites."
Together, the NPS and The Nature Conservancy are working to minimize the impacts of the pig eradication project on park visitors. The project schedule has been adjusted so the hunt on park property occurs during the lowest season of visitation. The public will be able to visit the most popular destinations in Scorpion Valley and Prisoners Harbor during restricted times.
The Scorpion Valley area will be open to the public every Saturday and Sunday for day use between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The Scorpion Valley area includes the landing pier, beach, and the most frequented trails to Cavern Point and Potato Harbor. The park property at Prisoners Harbor pier and beach will remain open for day use seven days a week between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. There will be no camping.
The public closure is necessary to ensure the safety of visitors. There may be some restrictions on visitor use of NPS property through completion of the project.
In light of the closure, one of the park concessioners, the Island Packer Company, is planning additional trips to one of the favored hike destinations on The Nature Conservancy property of Santa Cruz Island, the Prisoners Harbor to Pelican Trail. Access to this trail is with Island Packers only. Trained naturalists will lead escorted hikes along this scenic four-mile route.
To date, approximately half of the pig population has been removed. Pig removal is an essential component of an ambitious science-based program to save the island fox, protect archeological resources, and preserve Santa Cruz Island's biological richness for future generations. The Nature Conservancy and the NPS are also breeding foxes in captivity and monitoring the wild population, capturing golden eagles and returning them to the mainland, re-establishing bald eagles, and controlling invasive weeds.