Friday, May 11, 2007

Fire in the Sky

Twenty-six miles across the sea
Santa Catalina is a-waitin' for me
~ the Four Preps (1958)
Santa Catalina Island is burning down. Catalina is the biggest of the Channel Islands one stride (in seven league boots) offshore from Los Angeles. Home to the Gabrielino tribe before the Spanish conquest of California and refuge for smugglers afterwards. In the years before World War II, Catalina was a retreat for the Hollywood elite; movie classics like Captain Blood and Mutiny on the Bounty were filmed there. For thirty years, excluding the war, until 1951, the Chicago Cubs held spring training on the island.

The vast majority of the island was donated by its owner, the Wrigley Family (of gum fame), to the Catalina Island Conservancy. Catalina is home to rare and endangered animals like the Santa Catalina Island Fox and bald eagles. The Island Fox has been on the verge of extinction for over a decade.

Santa Catalina, like all of Southern California, has been in a bitter drought, only two inches of rain has fallen on the island all winter. I could try to make some political statement out of this, Global Warming or some such, but I can't. I can only mourn the loss of a rare and wonderful place.

The Marines at Camp Pendleton have been using their hovercraft transport ships to ferry firefighters and their equipment across the channel. Another reason why I don't hate our military, I only hate the insane uses some politicans waste them on.

1 comment:

PoliShifter said...

It's extemely sad. Very cool that the marines could help...that they aren't all in Iraq.

All this time in So Cal and I still haven't visited Catalina.

It looks like however that Avalon was spared.