Founded in 1972 as a non-profit organization, the Catalina Island Conservancy is one of the oldest private land trusts in Southern California. In striving to be a responsible steward of its lands through a balance of conservation, recreation, and education, the Conservancy protects nearly 90% of Catalina Island (42,000 of its 48,000 acres), including 62 miles of coastline, beaches and secluded coves. The Island is home over 60 plants and animals found nowhere else in the world and it is the most accessible of California’s Channel Islands, one of our nation’s greatest ecological treasures. The amount of passion that is poured into protecting the land, yet keeping it accessible for people to enjoy, is nothing short of inspiring. As a result, Catalina Island is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Here are 3 breathtaking Catalina Island Conversancy activities.
Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden – Catalina Island Conservancy
The Wrigley Memorial honors the memory of William Wrigley, Jr. Although best known as the founder of the Wrigley chewing gum company, he also played an instrumental role in the history of Catalina Island. His vision was that it remains protected for all generations to enjoy. As a result, the Botanic Garden is a one of the most historic Catalina Island Conservancy activities. People go to the garden to relax, look around and learn about the animals and vegetation – what’s native to Catalina versus what’s native to California. Many of the plants in this garden are extremely rare and endangered and cannot be found anywhere else in the world. There are plenty of animals on the island such as quail, bison, deer and a fox that was brought over from another island by the Native Americans.
The Wrigley Memorial is a beautiful place decorated with stunning tile and windows. You can hike to it or take a golf cart and it’s a fun place to learn more about the history of the island. The top of the tour offers a breathtaking view of the island, sea, sky and mountains.
Hiking and Biking Trails – Catalina Island Conservancy
The Conservancy recently completed the biggest addition to the Island’s trail system since 2009. Approximately 27 miles of new and expanded trails, waterless restrooms, improved access points, and a new map beckon hikers of all abilities. The 27 miles of new and expanded trails are part of 165 total miles of recreational roads and hiking and biking trails on the Island.
Camping – Catalina Island Conservancy
Camping on Catalina Island is one of the most enjoyable ways to soak in Catalina Island’s preserved beauty. Here are some great campgrounds that are owned by the Catalina Island Conservancy:
- Parson’s Landing Campground: Located seven miles west of Two Harbors, the Parson’s Landing Campground is one of the most gorgeous, secluded beach camping sites you will come across. A single campsite (8 total campsites available) holds up to 8 campers and is accessible exclusively via a moderately difficult hike or kayak trip. You must pack your own supplies, including water.
- Black Jack Campground: This campground is 1,600 ft. above sea level nestled on the side slope of a ridge between Black Jack Mountain and Mt. Orizaba, Catalina Island’s two highest peaks. It is surrounded by fresh pine and eucalyptus trees and has sweeping views of rolling terrain to the ocean.
- Little Harbor Campground: This campground is on a sandy beachfront and is excellent for campers who enjoy playing in the water or on the beach. It’s rated “One of the Best Campgrounds in the West” by Sunset Magazine.
In addition to these camping opportunities, the Catalina Island Conservancy offers volunteer vacations designed to bring people in to help take care of the island. All volunteers receive an exclusive volunteer rate along with a special thank you gift.
Visit the Catalina Island Conservancy and begin your dream vacation today by making a reservation to sail on board Catalina Express!