On Friday, April 18th, Naval Base Ventura County issued the following press release regarding San Miguel Island, the westernmost of the Channel Islands.
Effectively immediately, public visits to San Miguel Island (SMI), part of the Channel Islands National Park (CINP), are temporarily suspended.
Due to safety concerns, the Department of the Navy, which is the land owner at SMI and is represented locally by Naval Base Ventura County, has asked the National Parks Service via the CINP Superintendent's office to halt all recreational visits to the island.
The island was used as part of a bombing range during and after World War II. The closure is necessary to ensure public safety while the Navy conducts a risk assessment and, if necessary, clean-up at the island. The length of the closure will depend on the risk assessment findings, but the island will likely not reopen to visitors this year.
"The Navy is dedicated to the conservation of our national resources, of which the Channel Islands are a unique and critical piece," said Capt. Larry Vasquez, NBVC's commanding officer. "But the safety and wellbeing of NPS personnel and those who visit San Miguel Island are our highest concern. We are working closely with our federal partners to ensure the park is a safe and inviting place to visit."
For more information regarding Naval Base Ventura County, please call the NBVC public affairs office at 805-989-9234.
For more information about National Parks Service programs at CINP, call the NPS public information office at 805-658-5725.
The National Park Service issued the following press release: