One of the toughest parts of our relocation to Boulder is moving away from Santa Cruz Island. It's a 100 square miles of old California, just an hours boat ride off the LA coast. Our last trip out was to help the rangers with some trail maintenance for a few days, and one of the crew was an old friend Dave Edwards. I learnt that Dave had been coming out to the island for 25 years, long before it was a National Park while it was still a private ranch. He had a CD full of photos dating back to 1987, and we had a fascinating evening flicking through them. Part of my fascination with the place is watching the transformation as nature recovers from the ranching of the last century. Every trip we see more lush native vegetation and animals now the pigs and sheep have been removed. You can see the changes even more clearly in Dave's photos.
Also staying in the ranger's huts was another David, a research biologist working to re-populate the small Scorpion Rock with native plants. He explained how a tourist snap from the 1940's had been the key to figuring out what the original native mix was, before the invasive species wiped them out. That got me thinking, Dave's photos might be useful for something we'd never imagined, if only they were available to the right people. The best way I know of getting them out there is throwing them onto the internet, so I got his permission to upload them to Flickr. Hopefully future students of Santa Cruz Island will find some valuable insights, while the rest of us can just enjoy flicking through them.