San Miguel Island reopening to hikers after two-year closure

Seals on the beaches of San Miguel Island.
(Susan Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

San Miguel Island, the most remote of California’s Channel Islands, is reopening to the public after a two-year closure, the National Park Service has announced.

The island, set to reopen May 17, was closed due to concerns over old weaponry and unexploded ammunition from nearly three decades of Navy tests. San Miguel was an active bombing range during World War II and through the 1970s.

The Navy has been sweeping the island for possible unexploded ordnance since 2014. Surveys of 18 miles of marked trails and high-use areas included searches for surface and underground bombs.


Although no highly explosive items were found, 125 pounds of munition items — including practice bombs, bomb fragments and fuses — were removed.

San Miguel is the westernmost of the Channel Islands, about 55 miles from Ventura. The 8-mile-long island is home to more than 100,000 seals and sea lions that breed and haul out on the beaches each year.

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The island will not be open in areas without a ranger or other park personnel available to escort visitors. In addition to boat trips, visitors can now fly to the island via Channel Islands Aviation at Camarillo airport.

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