In my last article, I discussed the Santa Barbara Channel and its islands in general. This article will focus on two of five islands in Channel Islands National Park: San Miguel and Santa Rosa.

The national park was established in 1980 to protect the islands and make them accessible to the public. (Note: There are three other islands in the Channel Islands that are not in the national park: San Nicolas, Santa Catalina and San Clemente. The U.S. military owns San Nicolas and San Clemente, and Santa Catalina is a thriving commercial tourist island off the coast of Los Angeles.)

Channel Islands National Park consists of 249,354 acres, half of which are under the ocean since the park's boundary extends one nautical mile from the shore of each island. Four of the five islands in the park are a westward extension of the Santa Monica Mountains. Before the sea rose over 130 feet thousands of years ago, the four islands of Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Miguel were a single landmass called Santarosae Island.

I have been out to the islands on whale watching, kayaking, and hiking trips, but what did I really know about the Santa Barbara Channel itself and the history of the islands? How were they formed? What unique plants and animals live in the Channel and on the islands?

We have the perfect setting for fires: thousands of acres of wilderness with rugged terrain and few roads; rainy winter weather that allows grass and brush to grow, followed by months of hot, dry weather; prevailing winds as well as sundowner winds; and people, who are the cause of most fires.

28 stories about Santa Barbara County's history, landscape and traditions | Judith Dale

Get better acquainted with our beautiful slice of California with this collection of columns from Judith Dale highlighting the culture, geography and history of the Central Coast.

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At one time, Hollister and his partners, the Dibblee Brothers, owned all the land between Refugio Beach and Point Conception. They owned all the land grants around Point Concepcion, the Ortega family’s Refugio Grant, the La Purisima Mission lands and the San Julian Ranch.

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We often overlook and take for granted the importance of the river to our past development and more importantly to our future development and quality of life.

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The area around Guadalupe has evolved through many stages — from Chumash villages, to Spanish rule under Mission La Purisima, to a Mexican land grant, an immigrant farming community, a railroad town, and a modern agricultural city.

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We have the perfect setting for fires: thousands of acres of wilderness with rugged terrain and few roads; rainy winter weather that allows grass and brush to grow, followed by months of hot, dry weather; prevailing winds as well as sundowner winds; and people, who are the cause of most fires.

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Judith Dale looks back to 1920, offering a timeline of progress the U.S. has made over the last 100 years. In most areas such as life expectancy, industry, technology, and position in the world, the U.S. has come a long way. However, many of the social/cultural challenges the country faced in the 1920s, are still with us today.

Former mayor of Buellton, Judith Dale built her career in education and continues to serve the local community as Santa Barbara County 3rd District representative to the Library Advisory Board and board member of the Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital Foundation. She can be reached at judith@hwy246.net

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