Santa Rosa Island, off the California coast, is part of the Channel Islands chain, and is also part of the Channel Islands National Park. Further, it is also encompassed by the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, which protects 1,470 square miles off the southern California coast. As was the case for many of these islands, it was privately owned for a large part of its modern history before becoming part of the publicly protected lands.
Prior to European contact, Chumash Indians occupied the island, and made trips back and forth to the mainland in the plank canoes they called tomols. The earliest evidence of human presence on the island dates to 13,000 years ago in the form of two femora (thigh bones) excavated in 1960 at Arlington Springs on the island. Ultimately determined to be that of a male, the remains became known as Arlington Springs Man, and are potentially the oldest known human skeletal remains in North America.
They also indicate that the earliest Paleoindians had watercraft capable of crossing the Santa Barbara Channel. They also support the "coastal migration" theory of how humans originally migrated into North America from Asia across the Bering Land Bridge during the last ice age.
Today, the only people who inhabit Santa Rosa Island as staff of the National Park Service, Scientific researchers using the California State University Chanel Islands Santa Rosa Island Research Station, and campers and hikers visiting the National Park. The cattle from the Vail and Vickers Ranch have been removed, along with the introduced deer and elk. A few remaining ranch horses are allowed to roam parts of the former ranch anchorage, but otherwise the island has been given back to the natural processes that sculpted it for billions of years.
Today's photo was taken with at site of the last remaining ranch on the island. The white-ranch house is shaded by the twisted forms of two Monterey Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) trees. Barns and outbuildings can be seen in the distance on the far right.
This photo was taken with a Canon EF 17-40 mm f/4L USM lens zoomed to 17 mm on a Canon EOS 5D Mk III. The exposure was set to 1/500 sec at f/9.5 and ISO 200.
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