Channel Islands National Park Islands Accessible to Public During Government Shutdown

During the shutdown of the federal government due to the lapse of appropriations, national parks will remain as accessible as possible while still following all applicable laws and procedures. At Channel Islands National Park the park islands, with the exception of San Miguel Island, will remain accessible to visitors, but emergency and rescue services will be limited. The park’s mainland visitor center and island visitor contact stations are closed.

There will be no National Park Service (NPS)-provided visitor services at Channel Islands National Park, including public information, and restroom and campground maintenance. Park concessioners will operate as usual.

Park visitors are advised to use extreme caution during their visit as NPS personnel will not be available to provide guidance, assistance, or emergency response. Any entry onto NPS property during this period of federal government shutdown is at the visitor’s sole risk.

All island campgrounds and restrooms are open and accessible to visitors. There will be no campground check-in/check-out services and visitors holding campground reservations should be aware that there is no guarantee their reserved campsite will be ready and available during a government shutdown.

Whale Watching Season at Channel Islands Harbor December 26, 2018 through Mid-April 2019

Blue Whale Tail (Photo Credit:  David Beeninga )

Blue Whale Tail (Photo Credit: David Beeninga)

It’s that time of year to catch a glimpse of nature during Whale Watching Season taking place off the coast of Oxnard.  The season officially begins the day after Christmas, December 26 and continues through mid to late April 2019.

Both Island Packers, Ventura County’s official concessionaire to the Channel Islands National Park, and Channel Islands Sportfishing Center offer whale watching excursions directly from Channel Islands Harbor.  Island Packers provides 3 ½ hour non-landing narrated trips with morning and afternoon departures available.  The fare is $38 for adults; $34 for seniors 55+; $28 for children (3-12), and free for children 3 and under.  Trips run through mid- April 2019.


Channel Islands Sportfishing Center provides half-day morning whale watching excursions during the week and on the weekends with a morning and afternoon departure, running from December 26 through April 30, 2019.  Rates are $55 for adults; $45 for seniors; and $35 for children under 12.

Every year, an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 Pacific Gray Whales migrate through the Santa Barbara Channel on their way to and from the warm lagoons of Baja California, Mexico.  A journey through the Channel Islands National Park and National Marine Sanctuary provide visitors the unique opportunity to experience the splendor and beauty of these giants of the deep.  Besides whales, visitors often encounter dolphins, seals, sea lions and a rich variety of bird life, some of which are endangered and protected.

For more information on Oxnard Whale Watching Season, visit the website at

About Oxnard Convention & Visitors Bureau

Oxnard Convention & Visitors Bureau (OCVB) is a non-profit organization designed to increase visitor expenditures through transient occupancy tax, and tourism revenue opportunities through the promotion of Oxnard as a premier travel destination. Oxnard is an easy drive up the coast from Los Angeles or from the northern portions of California. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy Oxnard’s uncrowded beaches, explore the many diverse attractions and outdoor adventures that are unique to the area. A wide variety of hotel accommodations are available ranging from mid-priced rooms to oceanfront and seaside settings. For more information, call the Oxnard Convention & Visitors Bureau at 805-385-7545 or visit the website at

Department of Navy Temporarily Suspends Public Visits to San Miguel Island

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:

In the interest of public safety, the U.S. Navy is closing San Miguel Island until further notice due to recent concerns of possible unexploded ordnance. San Miguel Island was an active bombing range from WWII through the 1970s.

San Miguel Island is owned by the U.S. Department of Defense and is managed by the National Park Service under a memorandum of agreement. Pursuant to the Authority of the Superintendent under the Code of Federal Regulations Title 36 section 1.5 (a)(1)&(2) and section 2.1(a)(2) San Miguel Island is closed to all public entry.

More on the Channel Islands National Park.

Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center at Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands Boat Rides with Island Packers

Whale Watching Excursions at Channel Islands Harbor Dec 26th to Mid-April

The Channel Islands Harbor celebrates the migration of the Pacific Gray Whale with the annual “Celebration of the Whales.” See a sight you'll never forget. View these magnificent mammals of the deep as the Pacific Gray Whale migrates through the waters of the Santa Barbara Channel on their way to the lagoons of Mexico. Whale watching excursions to the Channel Islands National Park are offered daily from Channel Islands Harbor.

Island Packers offers half-day trips from December 26th through mid-April. Call 805-642-1393. Channel Islands Sportfishing Center provides excursions from January through March. Call 805-382-1612.

New Channel Islands (formerly Ventura County) Maritime Museum to Open in July

Executive Director Announces Channel Islands Maritime Museum Changes

Bill Conroy, the Executive Director of the Ventura County Maritime Museum, announced last month that  the museum is changing its name to the Channel Islands Maritime Museum. The museum will celebrate its opening early in July 2012 at its new site overlooking the Channel Islands Harbor at 3900 Bluefin Circle, Oxnard.

The colorful patio entrance and newly designed façade welcome visitors to this harbor retreat. Once inside, families will be able to stroll leisurely through art galleries with panoramic views of the Channel Islands Harbor. They will be able to see newly designed exhibits illustrating the pageantry and drama of our maritime past.

The museum’s collection of seascapes by 17th century Dutch painters will be colorfully exhibited in an elegant and intimate gallery. Children will be awed by the epic story of the dragon-headed Turtle Boat heroically created by the tiny Chosen Dynasty navy of Admiral Y Sun Shin to defend against foreign invading forces.

Museum volunteers continue their efforts to raise funds to build out the new museum by selling pavers inscribed with a donor’s name. These are still available for a donation of $200. In addition, naming opportunities for individual galleries and major donations are welcome to support and preserve this cultural resource for the entire community.

The museum is also recruiting volunteers for training as docents in the expanded facility.

For information please call (805) 984-6260 or visit