Prisoners Harbor, Santa Cruz Island K-12 Education

 Prisoners Harbor, Santa Cruz Isl.- Full Day Trip                            $43.00 Per Person

What makes this destination unique?

Prisoners Harbor is located where the National Park Service and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) boundaries meet, giving unique access to the Pelican Bay Trail. This trail offers beautiful vistas that overlook the Santa Barbara Channel and all its rich marine diversity. It also traverses several different vegetation habitats, providing the best opportunity to see the most diversity of endemic species of any trail on Santa Cruz. This vegetation provides habitat for many bird species as well, including the endemic Island Scrub Jay, which is found nowhere else in the world. The Harbor area still houses an old ranch storage building and an archaeological site that offer a window into the rich cultural past of this island.

Photo by Doug Mangum

What will my students experience?

Photo by Dan Harding

There is always an opportunity to see wildlife en-route to the islands, and we definitely brake for whales and dolphins! Once ashore, students will have a lunch break and then take a guided hike with their naturalist. Our naturalists are trained on the unique natural and cultural resources found in Channel Islands National Park, and have a large repertoire of activities to reinforce the information they present. Possible science themes include adaptation, habitats, native and endemic organisms, introduced species, research and restoration, marine ecology, and geology. Social science themes may include Native American inhabitants and explorers.

What is the physical exertion involved?

The boat trip to Prisoners will take 1½ hours. Arriving at the Harbor, be prepared to step from the boat to a ladder, where you will climb 2-5 rungs to the pier. The distance of the hike is dependent on the pace and skills of each group and can range from 1½ - 4 miles with multiple elevation changes of 150-200 feet, including some steep rocky terrain. The trail is rated "Moderate to Strenuous" by the Park Service, and is recommended for more mature students and/or small groups.

Photo by Doug Mangum

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