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Forneys_Anchorage_SantaCruz_Island.jpg
The view of Forneys Cove, Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary from Land. In its vastness and variety of flora, fauna, and geology, Santa Cruz Island resembles a miniature California. At over 96 square miles in size and California's largest island, Santa Cruz contains two rugged mountain ranges, the highest peaks on the islands (rising above 2,000 feet), a large central valley/fault system, deep canyons with year-round springs and streams, and 77 miles of craggy coastline cliffs, giant sea caves, pristine tidepools, and expansive beaches. One of the largest and deepest sea caves in the world, Painted Cave, is found on the northwest coastline of Santa Cruz. Named because of its colorful rock types, lichens, and algaes, Painted Cave is nearly a quarter-mile long and 100 feet wide, with an entrance ceiling of 160 feet and a waterfall over this entrance in the spring...These varied landforms support more than 600 plant species in ten different plant communities, from marshes and grasslands to chaparral and pine forests. 140 landbird and 11 land mammal species, three amphibian and five reptile species, and large colonies of nesting seabirds, breeding seals and sea lions, and other diverse marine animals and plants. Owing to millions of years of isolation, many distinctive plant and animals species have adapted to the islands unique environment, including the island scrub jay and eight plant species found only on Santa Cruz and nowhere else in the world...The island is also rich in cultural history with 9,000 years of Chumash Native American Indian habitation and over 150 years of European exploration and ranching. Santa Cruz Island, known by the Chumash people as Limuw(translates to in the sea) was home to a dozen villages that housed over 1,000 people. Many of these islanders mined extensive chert deposits for tools and produced shell-bead money, used as a major trade item by tribes throughout California. The largest village on the i