The Student News Site of Foothill Technology High School

The Foothill Dragon Press

The Student News Site of Foothill Technology High School

The Foothill Dragon Press

The Student News Site of Foothill Technology High School

The Foothill Dragon Press

Follow Us On Instagram!

Exploring the natural beauty and history of Santa Rosa Island

Tessa Shinden
Despite the persistent winds, Channel Islands National Park offers exceptional beaches, with the crashing of waves of the Pacific ocean onto the strikingly white sand. Surrounding Santa Rosa Island are cold, nutrient-rich waters that sustain a diverse web of marine life — apparent to any visitor who makes the journey across the Santa Barbara Channel.

As the cool winds of the Pacific Ocean brush through the tall grass of the Channel Islands National Park, the natural beauty of Santa Rosa Island becomes apparent to any person who is lucky enough to partake in its glory. With broad, sandy beaches that impressively greet its daily visitors to a dynamic ocean with sheer cliffs that contour the land, the island’s low profile is ruptured by a central mountain range that rises to 1,589 feet at its highest point. 

Santa Rosa Island’s terrain consists of rolling hills, deep canyons and a coastal lagoon. Its surrounding waters serve as an invaluable habitat for sea life, although it is unwise to swim or dive alone near some colonies of marine animals. (Tessa Shinden)

As the second-largest island in California, Santa Rosa Island is approximately 53,000 acres in size and is located 40 nautical miles from Ventura. The varied landforms of the island support a diverse array of plant and animal species, some of which can only be found on Santa Rosa and nowhere else in the world.

A human presence in the northern Channel Islands has been indicated by archaeological evidence for thousands of years. The native populations of Santa Rosa Island were primarily Chumash, as these indigenous people lived in an area extending from San Luis Obispo to Malibu, including the four northern Channel Islands. With the exception of the islands, Chumash people still live in these territories today and areas far beyond. 

As a true maritime culture, the Chumash hunted and gathered natural resources from both the ocean and the coastal mountains to maintain a highly developed way of life. By the time European colonizers arrived in the Santa Barbara Channel, there were around 21 villages on the three largest islands, including Santa Rosa. These villages had highly developed social hierarchies that featured an upper class of chiefs and artisans, a middle class of workers and a lower class of the poor. The scarcity of freshwater, however, did not support permanent habitation. 

The plethora of scenic hiking trails on Santa Rosa Island offer an awe-inspiring natural experience, while also providing a tranquil escape through the seclusion of the island. 

The Cherry Canyon trail on Santa Rosa Island takes visitors through the small canyon with a plethora of unique flora and fauna, eventually leading up to a vista point that offers fantastic views of the shoreline. (Tessa Shinden)

The Cherry Canyon hike is a popular trail for visitors to experience the uniquely supreme plants on Santa Rosa. This trail winds through the canyon with a seasonal creek, and eventually up onto the coastal terrace with views of Becher’s Bay. 

In addition to Cherry Canyon, the Torrey Pines hike is a stunning trail that offers a view of one of the rarest pines in the world. Torrey Pines occur naturally in only two locations in the world — on the misty, fog-drenched slopes of Becher’s Bay, and just north of San Diego in La Jolla. The somewhat strenuous route offers spectacular views through both the western and eastern edges of the grove. 

Although this Eden is right under the noses of many in Ventura County, seniors of the Bioscience Academy at Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) are lucky enough to visit Santa Rosa annually to appreciate the island’s beauty and conduct research on different species of wildlife. Most recently in April of 2024, Bioscience’s Cohort 18 visited the Santa Rosa Island Research Station to collect specimens of bees in order to contribute to a collection of DNA Barcodes in this student-led research project. 

It is highly encouraged that anyone and everyone with an appreciation for breathtaking natural beauty visit Santa Rosa Island, if not any of California’s Channel Islands National Park. Not only do these islands offer an escape from the bustle of the mainland, but gives any visitor a newfound appreciation for its indigenous wildlife. 

What do you think?
Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Tessa Shinden
Tessa Shinden, Editor-in-Chief
An Editor-in-Chief who is technologically illiterate. Send help.

Comments (0)

Comments on articles are screened and those determined by editors to be crude, overly mean-spirited or that serve primarily as personal attacks will not be approved. The Editorial Review Board, made up of 11 student editors and a faculty adviser, make decisions on content.
All The Foothill Dragon Press Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *