For thousands of years, the Chumash visited Anacapa Island, which was
known to them as "Anyapakh," meaning "mirage." The first European
settlers, fishermen, and sheep ranchers arrived in the 1800s. The Coast
Guard built the last permanent light station on the west coast in 1932.
Protection for the island began in 1938 when Anacapa Island (along
with Santa Barbara Island) became a national monument. In 1980 it was
designated as part of Channel Islands National Park. The island waters are
protected by the National Park Service, Channel Islands National Marine
Sanctuary, and the State of California.
Twelve miles from the mainland, Anacapa Island emerges from the ocean as
five-mile-long volcanic rock divided into three islets - East, Middle, and
West. Waves have eroded the island, creating towering sea cliffs, sea caves,
and natural bridges, such as 40-foot-high Arch Rock - a symbol of Anacapa
Island and Channel Islands National Park. The island provides critically
important habitat for endemic plants and animals, pinnipeds, and seabirds,
including the largest California brown pelican rookery in the United States.