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The Channel Islands are home to amazing wildlife, breathtaking views, and now, 3,000 pounds of weed. Photo: National Park Service

The Channel Islands are home to amazing wildlife, breathtaking views, and now, 3,000 pounds of weed. Photo: National Park Service


The Inertia

Editor’s note: This piece was recently updated to reflect the reopening of Santa Rosa Island to visitors.

If you didn’t know so already, the Channel Islands off the Santa Barbara coast are pretty damn incredible. Not only are they insanely beautiful and pristine (because they’re protected marine sanctuaries), they’re also home to over 150 unique species found nowhere else in the world. Sort of like the U.S.’s very own Galapagos. What’s more? The oldest human remains in North America, dating to 13,000 B.C., were discovered there in the ’50s. Because of this, to make a long story short, the Channel Islands are heavily regulated, and are significantly important to biodiversity and marine ecosystem research as well as preserving threatened species from extinction; there’s a reason why the most popular Channel Island, Santa Cruz, receives only 90,000 visitors annually.

Interestingly enough, authorities recently discovered 44 bundles of marijuana weighing 3,000 pounds on the 83 square mile island of Santa Rosa and subsequently closed the island off to visitors for nearly a week. Agencies investigated the incident, but no arrests were made, according to reports. On Wednesday the National Park Service moved to reopen Santa Rosa Island to the public.

“This closure, while unfortunate, is necessary to protect the public from potential harm,” said Channel Islands National Park Superintendent Russell Galipeau in a statement released last week, before the area was reopened.

The drugs were suspected to be related to an abandoned Mexican ‘panga’ (a small ship) that officials found Sunday afternoon on Gaviota Beach. The Department of Homeland Security claims the ship was linked to a maritime smuggling effort.

The closing goes to show that while and island off the coast of California may seem like an inconspicuous place to hide 3,000 pounds of Mary Jane, you, and those smugglers, might want to reconsider your options.

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