Hunter amendment would deny the public access to Santa Rosa Island within Channel Islands National Park, converting it to Military Uses

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   December 9, 2005
Contact:   Ron Sundergill, NPCA, 707-480-6607


Hunter amendment would deny the public access to Santa Rosa Island within Channel Islands National Park, converting it to Military Uses

- We have learned that Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, is planning to propose an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill that would shift Santa Rosa Island, the second largest island within Channel Islands National Park, to an exclusive recreational outpost and game reserve for armed forces personnel and veterans, eliminating broader public access. In addition, the amendment would allow Special Operations Forces to use the island for military training.
The clearest indication of the intent of this amendment comes from reviewing a similar proposal Rep. Hunter made to a military spending bill earlier this year. He withdrew that highly controversial amendment after objections were raised, and after it became apparent that the Department of Defense had not even asked for it. The first version of his amendment was a bad idea and the new, dressed up version is no better.

We recommend that Rep. Hunter abandon this misguided amendment, which undoes a mediated settlement approved by a court of law in the fall of 1997 to protect threatened resources on the island.
This amendment is an attempt to grab a large portion of Channel Islands National Park and, in part, turn it into an exclusive commercial elk and deer hunting island compound for a small portion of Americans, and would result in a sweetheart deal for a well-connected family that has already sold their estate effective at the end of 2011 for $30 million. The proposal would turn administration of the second largest island within the park, Santa Rosa Island, over to the Secretary of Defense. Santa Rosa Island’s land mass is 52,794 acres and it encompasses over 42 percent of the land mass within the National Park.

Channel Islands National Park lands were set aside by our nation for the use and enjoyment by all Americans -- the young, the old, civilians, military personnel, veterans and nature lovers -- who go there to soak in the fresh air and marvel at its beauty. All Americans should continue to fully enjoy the wonders of this park.
Why would Representative Hunter, why would anybody for that matter, want to suddenly restrict a large portion of this beautiful place to a small portion of Americans? It makes no sense!

We can only guess that the reason this is being proposed is to protect the commercial interest that operates the elk and deer hunting venture on the island. The owners of the venture, whose family sold the island to the federal government in 1986 for nearly $30 million, will be required to end their commercial activities in 2011. The timeline for ending the elk and deer hunting results from a legally binding agreement between the National Park Service and the National Parks Conservation Association, but the owners of the hunting venture strongly objected to the agreement.

If Santa Rosa Island is turned over to the Department of Defense for military recreation and other purposes, the permit for the commercial hunting operation is then likely to be renewed. This is especially evident since the proposed amendment requires that the current contract with the commercial hunting operation be honored, and contains no restriction on the renewal of the contract.
Lastly, with the recent decision to close down numerous military facilities, some of which provided recreational amenities, we wonder why, as a nation, we would then create a new military facility by closing down a large National Park island to public use.

# # #

More Background Information on Santa Rosa Island and National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) role in protecting it:

On January 30 of 1998 the NPCA reached an agreement with the National Park Service that grazing cattle would be removed from the island by the end of 1998 and that the non-native elk and deer would be removed from the island by 2011. This action resulted from a lawsuit filed by the NPCA against the Park Service in October of 1997. The suit was filed because the cattle and non-native species were negatively impacting the endangered species on the island. Santa Rosa Island has several rare and endangered plants, including some that are completely unique to Santa Rosa Island. Because of grazing some of these endangered plants were being trampled, which could have led to the extinction of these endangered plants.

Cattle operations have ceased on the island, and recovery of the island ecology has progressed, but some of the endangered species are still threatened by the non-native elk and deer herds, which is why the National Park Service has determined that the elk and deer hunting operation is not appropriate for the park.

Close

Want to learn more about the  ?

The   can be seen in the wild in America’s national parks. Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Sign up to protect parks in   & other states

Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association Community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Sign up to protect   and other National Parks

Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association Community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Please leave this field empty
Yes, please sign me up for NPCA’s newsletter and other emails about protecting our national parks!

National Parks Conservation Association
National Parks Conservation Association

Log In

Or log in with your connected Facebook or Twitter account:

GO

Welcome to our growing community of park advocates. Thanks for signing up!

Sign Up:

Or sign up by connecting your Facebook or Twitter account:

GO