America's National Parks offer such an array of recreational activities, it can be easy to forget that one of their main purposes is to protect precious ecosystems, species and resources. One of California's National Parks, however, is working hard to make sure its native inhabitants are not only surviving, but thriving.
Yesterday, on the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, Channel Islands National Park declared two formerly endangered plant species fully recovered. The Santa Cruz Island Dudleya, rare flowering succulent, and island bedstraw, a flowering member of the coffee family, are two plants that are found only on the Channel Islands and nowhere else on the planet.
“Today we celebrate the flourishing return of two plant species to the Channel Islands thanks to the tireless work of scientists, land managers, and the local community to restore the health of California’s island ecosystems,” said Paul Souza, regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Pacific Southwest Region, in a news release by the NPS.
This isn't the first such success story to come out the park; in fact, the two plants join the ranks of the island fox, peregrine falcon, bald eagle, California brown pelican, and island night lizard, which have all been saved from extinction here. However, Ethan McKinley, superintendent of Channel Islands warned that there is still work to be done.
“Make no mistake, there is still a great deal to accomplish before these islands are restored to their natural state. Recovery of native plants remains a keystone to preserving Channel Islands National Park for current and future generations.”
In its five decades, the Endangered Species Act has been credited with saving 99% of listed species from extinction.
Channel Islands National Park lies about 90 minutes off the coast of Los Angeles and consists of five virtually untouched islands surrounded by a remarkable diversity of rare wildlife. A visit here provides a rare glimpse into what California’s coastline would have been like before people arrived in large numbers, as the islands have enjoyed almost total seclusion despite regular ferries from Ventura. This park is one of the least crowded National Parks in the US. If you're planning a visit, make sure to bring everything you ended for your trip, as there are no provisions on the islands.
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Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.