Press Releases

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (both D-Calif.) today announced that the FY 2008 Interior Appropriations bill includes a measure that they have sponsored to restore full public access to Santa Rosa Island. The island is part of the Channel Islands National Park, located off the coast of Santa Barbara, California.

Senator Feinstein serves as the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior and Related Agencies, and Senator Boxer serves as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works.

Specifically, the Interior Appropriations bill approved today by the full Senate Appropriations Committee includes language sponsored by Senators Feinstein and Boxer that would repeal a provision sponsored last year by Representative Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) that could limit public access  to Santa Rosa Island. The provision was included in the FY 2007 Defense Authorization bill.

“Santa Rosa Island is one of California’s most unique natural habitats,” Senator Feinstein said. “But currently, large portions of the island are closed off to the public because of privately organized deer and elk hunts. And a provision slipped into the Defense Authorization bill last year could delay the implementation of a Court-ordered settlement that would restore full public access to the Island by 2011. So, the bill approved by the Appropriations Committee would ensure the National Park Service will be able to carry out the settlement, and allow the public to visit this California gem all year long.”

Senator Boxer said, “I want to thank Senator Feinstein for working to get this important measure included in the Interior Appropriations Bill.  Santa Rosa Island is a unique jewel in our National Park system, and access to its beauty should not be restricted.”

Currently, privately-organized expeditions to hunt non-native deer and elk require the closure of about 90 percent of the island to the general public for about four to five months each year. Representative Hunter’s measure also would complicate the National Park Service’s efforts to carry out a court-approved settlement to remove the non-native deer and elk from Santa Rosa Island by 2011. According to the National Park Service, the private hunting of the deer and elk herds pose a threat to the island’s 11 endangered species, including the bald eagle, rare plants, and native birds and fox.

The Feinstein-Boxer legislation would reaffirm that Santa Rosa Island is to be managed under existing authorities for the National Park Service.