Off the coast of Southern California’s Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) is a vibrant destination where a diverse habitat protecting endangered species, innovative research and conservation, world-class outdoor recreation, award-winning learning and volunteer programs, and archaeological remains all come together within the borders.
The sanctuary’s sustainable tourism practices promote long-term conservation of its habitats and resources while enabling responsible, compatible human activities. Visitors have an abundance of outdoor recreation options: diving, snorkeling, whale watching, kayaking, boating, sailing and fishing. Around them is an ecosystem rich with sea lions and seals, whales, dolphins, sea turtles, otters, more than 40 species of fish and 60 species of seabirds.
The sanctuary is also home to amazing artifacts of maritime and cultural history. The area is a special place to the Chumash people, one of the coastal indigenous nations. Signs of prehistoric human activity, including distinctive stone points and tool-making debris, were found there. In fact, archeologists discovered “Arlington Springs Man,” dating back 13,000 years and considered the earliest human remains in North or South America, in the Channel Islands. More than 150 shipwrecks and lost aircraft have been identified in the waters.
Channel Islands NMS is equally known for its active research, conservation and education programs, many with our support. Exhibits funded by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation at the Channel Islands Boating Center in Ventura interpret the Sanctuary’s habitat and resources. The Foundation also supports a vessel speed reduction program created by the Channel Islands community and its partners. The program incentivizes ships in the Sanctuary to slow down, reducing pollution and climate change emissions and minimizing fatal ship strikes to endangered whales.
Related Links :Channel Islands NMS Website
“Some of the most important work at our site is done by volunteers who support the Channel Islands Naturalist Corps (CINC) program, a joint program between Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and Channel Islands National Park. The Naturalist Corps are specially trained volunteers dedicated to educating visitors about the unique resources found within the sanctuary and park. Over 150 members donate 34,000 hours annually and reach out to thousands of area residents, visitors and school children annually on whale watch vessels and island hikes.They also participate in numerous local outreach events and collect valuable research on marine mammals and other important sanctuary and park resources.”