Santa Rosa Island to be turned into exclusive hunting preserve?

I’m not one to start a post with WTF … but Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon) wants to turn Santa Rosa Island (part of the Channel Islands) into a hunting preserve … for veterans according to the LATimes.

Hunter’s proposal to open Santa Rosa Island to hunting by disabled veterans would mark the first time public access to a national park has been curtailed for the benefit of a single group of users. It would almost certainly face a court challenge.

Efforts have been ongoing to restore the Channel Islands and preserve the indigenous species … none of which would offer much fun for hunting (as the larger game including birds are almost all endangered or otherwise protected). Even worse, the proposal has been inserted into a pretty much unrelated military authorization bill.

Anyone else thing the name Duncan Hunter is kind funny in this context?

Photo via Flickr — from Justin Donnelly

5 thoughts on “Santa Rosa Island to be turned into exclusive hunting preserve?”

  1. p.s. isn’t san nicolas (yes, the Island of the Blue Dolphins) a Navy bombing range already? that’s, like, kind of hunting. sorta.

  2. Okay, I’m sorry to have commented 3x instead of consolidating into one comment – got ahead of myself, but I noted the wikipedia channel islands entry refers to legislation to turn the island into a “military resort and training facility” with a link to an LAT article that doesn’t come up anymore, but if I am interpreting the addy correctly, was posted sometime in december – not that it changes the point of the opposition much (i’d be part of that opposition).

    There are many state and national parks in which hunting is currently legal and doesn’t require what would be likely a 2 to 4 hour boat ride to reach. And frankly, since there’s no native game on the channel islands larger than their particular species of native fox, what would they hunt? There’d be a certain poetry in bald eagles, I suppose, but . . . .

    Frankly, why not build a veterans home on Catalina (too much protected, not actually possible) where between them and the relocation program, the dangerous-to-the-local-economy infestation of bison, razorbacks, and goats would be taken care of symbiotically.

  3. There are state game lands back east (I know PA has legal game hunts for ducks, geese, bears and deer on public land, though I don’t think within State Park lands).

    The article suggested that disabled vets would be taking advantage of the hunting … there are few amenities on the island and certainly getting there isn’t a walk in the park either. The only thing I can think that they’d hunt on Santa Rosa would be the Elk that are there right now, which are non-native and are scheduled to be removed within the next 5 years anyway. But after that it’s supposed to revert to a native species protected area.

    The exclusivity part of it was rather odd. There are lots of places to hunt in this great country of ours – why do they need a segregated place to hunt? Maybe I just don’t know enough about the current game hunting situation.

    I guess the big question is this, is Duncan Hunter a vet?

  4. I was just out to Santa Rosa Island this past weekend for a backpacking trip. The idea of using the island for disabled veterans is completely absurd. The roads are very rough and it takes 2 1/2 hours to reach by boat. At the end of the boat ride visitors must climb up a ladder to reach the pier while the boat heaves up and down in the often heavy surf. Several of my fellow travelers were so seasick that, once we got to solid land, they spread out a blanket and collapsed face first. I suppose you could fly in the hypothetical disabled hunters, but why bother when there are plenty of more easily accessible places to hunt deer and elk in America.

    Santa Rosa Island has been decimated by 150+ years of imported sheep, cattle deer and elk. Thankfully the sheep and cattle ranching has ceased, but sadly the legacy is a landscape of non-native grasses and eroded soil that the Chumash Indians, who lived there for 13,000 years, would not recognize. This island is also home to animals and plants that exist in no other place in the world, and it is the location of countless archeological sites, including the oldest human remains found in North America. The destructive deer and elk were supposed to be gone by 2011, and now it looks like it will be up to the courts thanks to the vile Duncan Hunter.

    During our stay on Santa Rosa over the weekend our movements were severly limited due to the hunt so that rich people could bag an elk for $17,000.

    Obviously it’s too late to get this ridiculous idea out of the defense bill, but we should all send Duncan Hunter an angry letter or phone call:

    Rep. Duncan Hunter, 2265 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515-0552
    Fax is 202-225-0235   Phone is 202-225-5672

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