National Park Service
It was created on August 25,1916, by Congress through the National Park Service Organic Act and is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior. As of 2014, the NPS employs 21,651 employees who oversee 417 units, the National Park Service celebrated its centennial in 2016. National parks and national monuments in the United States were originally individually managed under the auspices of the Department of the Interior, the movement for an independent agency to oversee these federal lands was spearheaded by business magnate and conservationist Stephen Mather, as well as J. Horace McFarland. With the help of journalist Robert Sterling Yard, Mather ran a publicity campaign for the Department of the Interior and they wrote numerous articles that praised the scenic and historic qualities of the parks and their possibilities for educational and recreational benefits. This campaign resulted in the creation of a National Park Service, Mather became the first director of the newly formed NPS.
On March 3,1933, President Herbert Hoover signed the Reorganization Act of 1933, the act would allow the President to reorganize the executive branch of the United States government. It wasnt until that summer when the new President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President Roosevelt agreed and issued two Executive orders to make it happen. In 1951, Conrad Wirth became director of the National Park Service, the demand for parks after the end of the World War II had left the parks overburdened with demands that could not be met. In 1952, with the support of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, he began Mission 66, New parks were added to preserve unique resources and existing park facilities were upgraded and expanded. In 1966, as the Park Service turned 50 years old, emphasis began to turn from just saving great and wonderful scenery, Director George Hartzog began the process with the creation of the National Lakeshores and National Recreation Areas. Since its inception in 1916, the National Park Service has managed each of the United States national parks, Yellowstone National Park was the first national park in the United States.
In 1872, there was no government to manage it. Yosemite National Park began as a park, the land for the park was donated by the federal government to the state of California in 1864 for perpetual conservation. Yosemite was returned to federal ownership, at first, each national park was managed independently, with varying degrees of success. In Yellowstone, the staff was replaced by the U. S. Army in 1886. Due to the irregularities in managing these national treasures, Stephen Mather petitioned the government to improve the situation. In response, Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane challenged him to lobby for creating a new agency, Mather was successful with the ratification of the National Park Service Organic Act in 1916. Later, the agency was given authority over other protected areas, the National Park System includes all properties managed by the National Park Service
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, California, in the United States. It was established on September 25,1890, the park is south of and contiguous with Kings Canyon National Park, the two are administered by the National Park Service together as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. They were designated the UNESCO Sequoia-Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve in 1976, the park is famous for its giant sequoia trees, including the General Sherman tree, the largest tree on Earth. The General Sherman tree grows in the Giant Forest, which five out of the ten largest trees in the world. The Giant Forest is connected by the Generals Highway to Kings Canyon National Parks General Grant Grove, the parks giant sequoia forests are part of 202,430 acres of old-growth forests shared by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Indeed, the preserve a landscape that still resembles the southern Sierra Nevada before Euro-American settlement. Many park visitors enter Sequoia National Park through its entrance near the town of Three Rivers at Ash Mountain at 1,700 ft elevation.
The last California grizzly was killed in this park in 1922, the California Black Oak is a key transition species between the chaparral and higher elevation conifer forest. At higher elevations in the front country, between 5,500 and 9,000 feet in elevation, the landscape becomes montane forest-dominated coniferous belt, found here are Ponderosa, Jeffrey and lodgepole pine trees, as well as abundant white and red fir. Found here too are the giant sequoia trees, the most massive living single-stem trees on earth, between the trees and summer snowmelts sometimes fan out to form lush, though delicate, meadows. In this region, visitors often see deer, Douglas squirrels, and American black bears. There are plans to reintroduce the bighorn sheep to this park, the vast majority of the park is roadless wilderness, no road crosses the Sierra Nevada within the parks boundaries. 84 percent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is designated wilderness and is only by foot or by horseback. Sequoias backcountry offers a vast expanse of high-alpine wonders, covering the highest-elevation region of the High Sierra, the backcountry includes Mount Whitney on the eastern border of the park, accessible from the Giant Forest via the High Sierra Trail.
On the floor of canyon, at least two days hike from the nearest road, is the Kern Canyon hot spring, a popular resting point for weary backpackers. From the floor of Kern Canyon, the trail ascends again over 8,000 ft to the summit of Mount Whitney, in the summertime, Native Americans would travel over the high mountain passes to trade with tribes to the East. By the time the first European settlers arrived in the area, smallpox had spread to the region. The first European settler to homestead in the area was Hale Tharp, Tharp allowed his cattle to graze the meadow, but at the same time had a respect for the grandeur of the forest and led early battles against logging in the area
A wetland is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, such that it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem. The primary factor that distinguishes wetlands from other forms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation of aquatic plants. Wetlands play a number of roles in the environment, principally water purification, flood control, carbon sink, Wetlands are considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems, serving as home to a wide range of plant and animal life. Wetlands occur naturally on every continent except Antarctica, the largest including the Amazon River basin, the West Siberian Plain, the water found in wetlands can be freshwater, brackish, or saltwater. The main wetland types include swamps, marshes and fens, and sub-types include mangrove, pocosin, the UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment determined that environmental degradation is more prominent within wetland systems than any other ecosystem on Earth. International conservation efforts are being used in conjunction with the development of rapid assessment tools to people about wetland issues.
Constructed wetlands can be used to treat municipal and industrial wastewater as well as stormwater runoff and they may play a role in water-sensitive urban design. A patch of land that develops pools of water after a storm would not be considered a wetland. Wetlands have unique characteristics, they are distinguished from other water bodies or landforms based on their water level. Specifically, wetlands are characterized as having a table that stands at or near the land surface for a long enough period each year to support aquatic plants. A more concise definition is a community composed of hydric soil, Wetlands have been described as ecotones, providing a transition between dry land and water bodies. In environmental decision-making, there are subsets of definitions that are agreed upon to make regulatory and policy decisions. A wetland is an ecosystem that arises when inundation by water produces soils dominated by anaerobic processes, There are four main kinds of wetlands – marsh, swamp and fen.
Some experts recognize wet meadows and aquatic ecosystems as additional wetland types, the largest wetlands in the world include the swamp forests of the Amazon and the peatlands of Siberia. Under the Ramsar international wetland conservation treaty, wetlands are defined as follows, Article 2.1, may incorporate riparian and coastal zones adjacent to the wetlands, and islands or bodies of marine water deeper than six metres at low tide lying within the wetlands. Although the general definition given above applies around the world, each county, Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes and similar areas. This definition has been used in the enforcement of the Clean Water Act, some US states, such as Massachusetts and New York, have separate definitions that may differ from the federal governments. It is not uncommon for a wetland to be dry for long portions of the growing season, the most important factor producing wetlands is flooding
Trione-Annadel State Park
Trione-Annadel State Park is a state park of California in the United States. It is situated at the edge of Sonoma Valley and is adjacent to Spring Lake Regional Park in Santa Rosa. It offers many activities within its 5, 092-acre property. These lands were occupied by the Wappo and Pomo people in times, who would have primarily inhabited the riparian zones. Annadel includes what some consider the best example of undisturbed northern oak woodlands in existence. Visitors can enjoy the parks wildlife and scenery during any time of the year but are perhaps most rewarded from April through June when most wildflowers are in bloom. Plant communities include California oak woodland, riparian woodland, Douglas fir forest, grassland, the dominant plant community is the oak woodland, which has a canopy of coast live oak, Garry oak, black oak, Pacific madrone, bigleaf maple, and California laurel. Canyon live oak occurs in swales and creeks, in the oak woodlands, the dominant understory plants are native bunchgrasses, wild blackberry, coyote brush, and western poison-oak.
The latter covers nearly one quarter of the understory in the park, Douglas fir occurs in some of the steeper, cooler riparian zones and on north-facing slopes. Common animals in Annadel include black-tailed deer, western gray squirrel, skunk and mountain lion are occasionally observed. There are many species, including the California scrub jay, Stellers jay, acorn woodpecker, black phoebe. In moist areas, amphibians such as the rough-skinned newt can be found, the southern reaches of Annadel are drained by Yulupa Creek and other tributaries of Sonoma Creek, while the northern flanks are part of the Santa Rosa Creek watershed. Eastern slopes are drained by Yulupa and Sonoma Creeks, while the slopes are part of the Spring Creek watershed. Many of Annadels streams are dry in the summer, because rainfall is highly seasonal, Ledson Marsh, which drains into Yulupa Creek, retains some smaller pools of water throughout most of the year. The highest elevation in the park is the top of Bennett Mountain,1,887 feet.
The entirety of Annadel was below the floor as recently as twelve million years ago, around which time massive uplift. Elevations in Annadel range from about 360 to 1,880 feet above sea level, slopes within Annadel commonly range from 15 to 30 percent, but it is not uncommon to encounter slopes up to 70 percent on steep slopes above drainages which are covered in douglas fir forest. Typical soil depths are 35 to 50 centimetres, much of the soil type in the Yulupa Creek riparian zone consists of Laniger loam, with rhyolite outcrops, another relic of the igneous history
Angel Island (California)
Angel Island is an island in San Francisco Bay offering expansive 360° views of the San Francisco skyline, the Marin County Headlands and Mount Tamalpais. The entire island is included within Angel Island State Park and is administered by California State Parks, Angel Island is the second largest island in area of the San Francisco Bay. The island is so large that on a day and Napa can be seen from the north side of the island. The highest point on the island, almost exactly at its center, is Mount Caroline Livermore at a height of 788 feet, the island is separated from the mainland of Marin County by Raccoon Strait, the depth of the water approximately 90 feet. The United States Census Bureau reported an area of 3.107 km². Until about ten years ago, Angel Island was connected to the mainland. From about two years ago the island was a fishing and hunting site for Coast Miwok Native Americans. Similar evidence of Native American settlement is found on the mainland of the Tiburon Peninsula upon Ring Mountain.
In 1775, the Spanish naval vessel San Carlos made the first European entry to the San Francisco Bay under the command of Juan de Ayala, Ayala anchored off Angel Island, and gave it its modern name, the bay where he anchored is now known as Ayala Cove. In his book Two Years Before the Mast, published in 1840, Richard Henry Dana, like much of the California coast, Angel Island was subsequently used for cattle ranching. In 1863, during the American Civil War, the U. S. Army was concerned about Confederate naval raiders attacking San Francisco and it decided to construct artillery batteries on Angel Island, first at Stuart Point and Point Knox. Col. René Edward De Russy was the Chief Engineer, James Terry Gardiner was the engineer tasked with designing and supervising the work. The Army established a camp on the island, and it became an infantry garrison during the US campaigns against Native American peoples in the West. In the 19th century, the designated the entire island as Fort McDowell and developed further facilities there.
A quarantine station was opened in Ayala Cove in 1891, during the Spanish–American War the island served as a discharge depot for returning troops. It continued to serve as a transit station throughout the first half of the 20th century, at the end of World War I the disembarkation center was commanded by William P. Burnham, who had commanded the 82nd Division in France during the war. In 1938, hearings concerning charges of membership in a political party against labor leader Harry Bridges were held on Angel Island before Dean James Landis of Harvard Law School. After eleven weeks of testimony that filled nearly 8,500 pages, the decision was accepted by the United States Department of Labor and Bridges was freed
Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes National Seashore is a 71, 028-acre park preserve located on the Point Reyes Peninsula in Marin County, California. As a national seashore, it is maintained by the US National Park Service as an important nature preserve, some existing agricultural uses are allowed to continue within the park. All of the beaches were listed as the cleanest in the state in 2010. The fact that the peninsula is on a different tectonic plate than the east shore of Tomales Bay produces a difference in soils and therefore to some extent a noticeable difference in vegetation. The even smaller town of Olema, about 3 miles south of Point Reyes Station, serves as the gateway to the Seashore and its visitor center, the peninsula includes wild coastal beaches and headlands and uplands. The Seashore administers the parts of the Golden Gate National Recreation area, such as the Olema Valley, the northernmost part of the peninsula is maintained as a reserve for Tule Elk, which are readily seen there. The preserve is very rich in raptors and shorebirds.
The Point Reyes Lighthouse attracts whale-watchers looking for the Gray Whale migrating south in mid-January, the Point Reyes Lifeboat Station is a National Historic Landmark. It is the last remaining example of a rail launched lifeboat station that was common on the Pacific coast and this encompasses 5,965 acres along the coast of Drakes Bay. Kule Loklo, a recreated Coast Miwok village, is a walk from the visitor center. The Point Reyes National Seashore attracts 2.5 million visitors annually, hostelling International USA maintains a 45-bed youth hostel at the Seashore. Point Reyes National Seashore Association, formed in 1964, collaborates with the Seashore on maintenance, like underwater parks, these marine protected areas help conserve ocean wildlife and marine ecosystems. A large shellfish farm raising Japanese oysters, Crassostrea gigas, was located in Drakes Estero until, under court order, Court appeals to keep the operation in place were dropped in December,2014. The farm was purchased by the National Park Service in 1972, a federal law enacted in 2009 authorized, but did not require, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to renew the permit.
The NPS and conservation groups viewed the farm as an inappropriate and environmentally-insensitive use of the estero, the farms supporters argued that it was not ecologically harmful and was important to the local economy. Salazar visited the farm the previous week and phoned the farms owner to give him the news. The oyster farm closure was challenged in U. S. District Court on January 25,2013, the challenge was rejected by a federal court judge, who ruled that the law gave Salazar unfettered discretion to approve or deny a renewal of the permit. The California Coastal Commission voted on February 7,2013 to unanimously approve cease and desist, an attempt to have the appeals court rehear the case was rejected on January 14,2014 and a petition to the United States Supreme Court was denied on June 30,2014
The double-crested cormorant is a member of the cormorant family of seabirds. It occurs along inland waterways as well as in coastal areas, measuring 70–90 cm in length, it is an all-black bird which gains a small double crest of black and white feathers in breeding season. It has a patch of orange-yellow facial skin. The double-crested cormorant is found near rivers and lakes and along the coastline and it mainly eats fish and hunts by swimming and diving. Its feathers, like those of all cormorants, are not waterproof, once threatened by the use of DDT, the numbers of this bird have increased markedly in recent years. The double-crested cormorant was described by Rene Primevere Lesson in 1831 and its scientific name is derived from the Greek words φαλακρος, bald and κοραξ, crow or raven, and the Latin auritus, referring to its nuptial crests. Its common name refers to the same nuptial crests, significant colonies of these birds may be found further inland including areas around the Salton Sea.
According to currently available information, this subspecies is the third largest among the subspecies of the double-crested cormorant. Historical records indicate that species was far more abundant in the past, but due to human persecution and development in their breeding range. The largest colony of cormorants in North America consisted of members of this subspecies at San Martin Island, Baja California Territory, physically, this subspecies is fairly large and has white to partially white nuptial crests. P. a. auritus, the subspecies, has the largest and most widespread breeding population. It ranges from the Great Basin and Rocky Mountains east into central and this region includes the Canadian prairies and the Great Lakes. Historically, this subspecies has bred in abundance across most of this region, some evidence indicates that the bird has only begun breeding in the region since the early 20th century while other evidence suggests that it has been breeding in the region much longer.
Physically, this subspecies is large and has black nuptial crests. P. a. cincinnatus, white-crested cormorant, currently this is the most geographically restricted subspecies with the smallest population and it is found along the southern coast of Alaska and on the Aleutian Islands, ranging west from Kodiak to Chuginidak in the Aleutians. Historically, the range extended west to the Near Islands, but possibly due to nest predation by introduced foxes, this subspecies is the largest and it bears straight, white nuptial crests. P. a. floridanus, Florida cormorant, the smallest of the five subspecies, it is found from southern and central Texas east to the Atlantic, records indicate that this subspecies was abundant throughout its range before the 20th century, but now is only abundant in Florida. This bird has dark nuptial crests, P. a. heuretus This subspecies bears straight, white nuptial crests
Devils Postpile National Monument
Devils Postpile National Monument is located near Mammoth Mountain in eastern California. The national monument protects Devils Postpile, a rock formation of columnar basalt. In addition, the John Muir Trail and Pacific Crest Trail merge into one trail as they pass through the monument, excluding a small developed area containing the monument headquarters, visitor center and a campground, the National Monument lies within the borders of the Ansel Adams Wilderness. The monument was once part of Yosemite National Park, but discovery of gold in 1905 near Mammoth Lakes prompted a change that left the Postpile on adjacent public land. Later, a proposal to build a dam called for blasting the Postpile into the river. Influential Californians, including John Muir, persuaded the government to stop the demolition and, in 1911. The flora and fauna at Devils Postpile are typical of the Sierra Nevada, dark-eyed juncos and white-crowned sparrows are common in the summer. The name Devils Postpile refers to a cliff of columnar basalt.
Radiometric dating indicates the formation was created by a flow at some time less than 100,000 years ago. Estimates of the thickness range from 400 feet to 600 feet. The lava that now makes up the Postpile was near the bottom of this mass, because of its great thickness, much of the mass of pooled lava cooled slowly and evenly, which is why the columns are so long and so symmetrical. Columnar jointing occurs when certain types of contract while cooling. A glacier removed much of this mass of rock and left a surface on top of the columns with very noticeable glacial striations. The Postpiles columns average 2 feet in diameter, the largest being 3.5 feet, together they look like tall posts stacked in a pile, hence the features name. If the lava had cooled perfectly evenly, all of the columns would be expected to be hexagonal, but some of the columns have different polygonal cross-sections due to variations in cooling. A survey of 400 of the Postpiles columns found that 44. 5% were 6-sided,37. 5% 5-sided,9. 5% 4-sided,8.
0% 7-sided, compared with other examples of columnar jointing, the Postpile has more hexagonal columns. Another feature that places the Postpile in a category is the lack of horizontal jointing. Several stones from the Devils Postpile can be seen at the entrance to the United States Geological Survey headquarters lot in Reston, although the basaltic columns are impressive, they are not unique
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is located in San Francisco, United States. The park includes a fleet of vessels, a visitor center, a maritime museum. The park is referred to as the San Francisco Maritime Museum. Todays San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park was authorized in 1988, the park incorporates the Aquatic Park Historic District, bounded by Van Ness Avenue, Polk Street, and Hyde Street. The historic fleet of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is moored at the parks Hyde Street Pier, the fleet consists of the following major vessels, Balclutha, an 1886 built square rigged sailing ship. Eureka, an 1890 built steam ferryboat, alma, an 1891 built scow schooner. Hercules, a 1907 built steam tug, eppleton Hall, a 1914 built paddlewheel tug. The fleet includes one hundred small craft. The Visitor Center is housed in the parks 1909 waterfront warehouse, located at the corner of Hyde, the City of San Francisco declared the four-story brick structure an historic landmark in 1974, and the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
Inside, exhibits tell the story of San Francisco’s colorful and diverse maritime heritage, the visitor center contains a theater and a ranger-staffed information desk. The building was built by the WPA as a public bathhouse. The architects were William Mooser Jr. and William Mooser III, the third-floor gallery is used for visiting exhibitions and in 2005 exhibited Sparks, an exhibition of shipboard radio and radioteletype technology. The Maritime Museum has re-opened after a series of renovations, the Maritime Research Center is the premier resource for San Francisco and Pacific Coast maritime history. Originating in 1939, the collections have become the largest maritime collection on the West Coast, one of these is the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association. The Visitors Center, Hyde Street Pier and Maritime Museum are all situated adjacent to the foot of Hyde Street, the park headquarters and Maritime Research Center are located in Fort Mason, some 10 minutes walk to the west of the other sites.
Opening times and fees for the sites can be found on the parks website. Aquatic Park is a place for open water swimming, both for recreation and training. The South End Rowing Club and Dolphin Club are located in Aquatic Park, WPA murals and sculpture at Aquatic Park — The New Deal Art Registry
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Overall administration is by the National Park Service, coordinating with state, county and university agencies. The Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area preserves one of the best examples of a Mediterranean climate ecosystem in the world and it protects one of the highest densities of archaeological resources in any mountain range in the world. The Santa Monica Mountains NRA contains 156,671 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains of the Transverse Ranges between the Pacific Ocean and inland valleys and its southeastern slopes are part of the headwaters of the Los Angeles River. In size the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is the largest urban park in the United States. Besides geologic forces, people who inhabited the area in the past have been ones to affect the land, there were different reasons for people to come into the area. Some came to live and others to work the land, the first groups to live in the mountains were the Native American tribes called the Chumash and the Tongva who lived here for thousands of years.
Then came the Spanish Explorers and Homesteaders from other areas of the country, the Homesteaders brought new ideas and cultures that shaped the landscape and mindset of the area, and California overall. Up to this day, people continue to live, places such as Paramount Ranch, Solstice Canyon, and Rancho Sierra Vista/ Satwiwa still have that history that has been left behind by people in the past. The past stories from people are discovered through photographs, letters. Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area strives to make sure the collections, the first area in the Santa Monica Mountains set aside for public use was Griffith Park which was donated to the city of Los Angeles by Griffith J. Griffith in 1896. During the first decade of the century, Frederick H. Rindge made several attempts to create a forest reserve in the Santa Monica Mountains. These reserves were precursors to national forests, in 1902 California’s State Mining Bureau examined the area being considered for the establishment of a forest reserve.
The resulting report was sent to Washington where the proposal for a reserve was denied, in 1907 an application was submitted to the Secretary of the Interior requesting that at least 70,000 acres in the mountains be designated a forest reserve. This time state mineralogist Lewis E. Aubury opposed the venture and he wrote the L. A. C. and endeavor to ascertain his views on the subject, and further protest against the creation of this proposed reserve”. Days the U. S. Limestone deposits were discovered in the mountains behind Pacific Palisades in 1925 which led to a battle between wealthy home owners of the area and land developers. The quarry site was in Traylor Canyon, three miles inland from the sea, between Santa Ynez and Temescal Canyons. Alphonzo Bell, Sr. was the real estate developer behind the scheme while local opposition was led by Sylvia Morrison. After much criticism of his plan, Bell offered a new proposal
Channel Islands National Park
Channel Islands National Park is a United States national park that consists of five of the eight Channel Islands off the coast of the U. S. state of California, in the Pacific Ocean. Although the islands are close to the shore of densely populated Southern California, the park covers 249,561 acres of which 79,019 acres are owned by the federal government. The Nature Conservancy owns and manages 76% of Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park is home to a wide variety of significant natural and cultural resources. It was designated a U. S. National Monument on April 26,1938, and it was promoted to a National Park on March 5,1980. Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary encompasses the waters six nautical miles around Channel Islands National Park, the Channel Islands were originally discovered in 1542 by the explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo. In 1938 the Santa Barbara and Anacapa islands were designated a national monument, San Miguel, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz islands were combined with the monument in 1980 to form modern-day Channel Islands National Park.
On January 28,1969 an oil rig belonging to Union Oil experienced a blow-out 6 miles off the coast of California, the resulting spill was, at the time, the largest oil spill to occur in United States territorial waters. Following the spill, tides carried the oil onto the beaches of the Anacapa, San Miguel, Santa Rosa and this spill had a large impact on native wildlife of the Channel Islands. Much of the seabird population was affected, with over an estimated 3,600 avians killed. Meanwhile, seals and other sea life died and washed ashore on both the islands and the mainland and this spill is the third largest oil spill in the United States, only surpassed by the Deepwater Horizon and the Exxon Valdez oil spills. It resulted in a 34,000 acres expansion of the Department of the Interior buffer zone in the channel, the islands within the park extend along the Southern California coast from Point Conception near Santa Barbara to San Pedro, a neighborhood of Los Angeles. Park headquarters and the Robert J.
Lagomarsino Visitor Center are located in the city of Ventura, only three mammals are endemic to the islands, one of which is the deer mouse which is known to carry the sin nombre hantavirus. The spotted skunk and Channel Islands fox are endemic, the island fence lizard is endemic to the Channel Islands. One hundred and forty-five of these species are unique to the islands, Marine life ranges from microscopic plankton to the endangered blue whale, the largest animal on earth. Archeological and cultural resources span a period of more than 10,000 years, the average annual visitation to the parks mainland visitor center was around 300,000 in the period from 2007 to 2016, with 364,807 visiting in 2016. The visitor center is located in the Ventura Harbor Village, the visitor center contains several exhibits that provide information regarding all five islands, native vegetation, marine life and cultural history. Also, visitors can enjoy a film, free of charge. The visitor center is open day, except Thanksgiving and Christmas, from 8, 30AM–5