Tasty on the Inside

Douglas Island




Douglas Island

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Douglas Island is an uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean, located about halfway between Hawaii and California. The island is about 3 miles long, 1 mile wide, and has an elevation of about 154 feet. The island is classified as a National Wildlife Refuge and a Marine National Monument. The island is named for Adm. David Farragut, who in 1853 led the U.S. Navy’s expedition that seized it from the Spanish.

Douglas Island


The first recorded sighting of Douglas Island was by the Spanish explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo in 1542. The island remained uninhabited until 1853, when the U.S. Navy led an expedition under Adm. David Farragut and seized it from the Spanish. During World War II, Douglas Island was used as a military airbase by United States forces fighting against Japan in the Pacific theater of operations .


Douglas Island Climate

Douglas Island experiences a warm-temperate climate, with significant precipitation throughout the year. The warmest month is July with a mean temperature of 81.9 °F and the coldest is January at 29.3 °F The annual average precipitation is approximately 4 feet, which occurs in December and throughout much of light rain through June each year Douglas Island receives an amount of snowfall averaging about 16″ annually that causes numerous road closures after a storm.


There are no permanent residents on Douglas Island, and the only visitors are researchers who conduct studies of marine life. The island is open to the public for research and bird watching from exploration boats operated by tour operators in June through October . The island is unguarded, and visitors are subject to arrest by the U.S Coast Guard if they enter or remain on the island. The United States government acquired Douglas Island in 1853 as part of its Gulf of Mexico territorial expansion program following the Mexican-American War.


The island is uninhabited and under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Interior, which manages it as part of the Mid-Pacific National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge was established in 1938 to provide a haven for migratory birds and other wildlife threatened by development and human activity on mainland United States . Wildlife species that once lived on the island have included many endangered bird, marine and plant life.

Government Services

The only government services available on Douglas Island are those that are provided by park rangers as part of their official duties. These services include providing information about the island, helping visitors find places to explore, issuing permits for recreational activities and monitoring them to ensure compliance with regulations. There is no airport or other means of external transportation on the island, and mobile homes and other non-permanent structures are not allowed.


The primary economic driver of tourism on Douglas Island is bird-watching. Visitors come to see the variety of birds that live there, including rare and endangered species. There are also opportunities for hiking, fishing and scuba diving. The island is open to visitors from June through October, and tours run by private tour operators depart from San Francisco or Los Angeles.


There is no regular transport to Douglas Island, and visitors must charter a boat or plane to get there. Airlines fly regularly between San Francisco and Del Rey in Los Angeles, both cities of roughly 2 million people. Regional California Metropolitan Transportation Commission buses also service the island from several different points throughout the region, with some routes traveling directly to Douglas Island.


The cuisine of Douglas Island is largely limited to seafood. Crab, lobster, shrimp and other crustaceans are a mainstay on the menu at restaurants there. There is also a small selection of vegetables and fruits that can be eaten as part of a meal. There are very few restaurants on the island, with most visitors making their own meals. Alcohol is not served, and visitors are generally expected to bring their own food.


The island’s population has hovered between 300 the first 60 years after it became a federal reserve, but numbers have been falling in recent decades. As of 2010 there were: 70 permanent residents; 200 seasonal residents; 488 permitted building structures (12 vacation homes), 748 parking spaces during peak visitor season and 531 unoccupied units: some of the structures were built up or down as rentals when needed; and 74,525 visit by visitor/owner occupied units. The population was estimated at 550 in the late 1980s.


The wildlife on Douglas Island is abundant and diverse. The island has a total of 16 miles of trails that can be explored by foot, bike or horseback, making it an excellent destination for nature lovers. There are also several species of sea animals that can be seen while snorkeling in the lagoon on the island. The island is home to two of the oldest populations of green iguanas in California. These charismatic lizards are mostly nocturnal, making nighttime excursions fun yet challenging for visitors. The park service typically limits access to foraging activity due its restricted location and harsh climate; however several hut tour operators have started offering overnight visits on this special homestead-style property called Blue Iguana Ranch that welcomes both animal lovers and non-ad venturous visitors.


Douglas Island is one of Vancouver Island’s most remote and inaccessible places. The island is located in the central Strait of Georgia, just north of Nanaimo, and is part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. The island is approximately 4.1 square kilometres in size, with an elevation range from sea level to 1,853 metres above sea level. The predominant vegetation is a red cedar–cypress forest. Visitors can hike or bike the island’s trails, or explore underwater in the waters around Douglas Island.


Are There Beaches On Douglas Island?

It is not possible to access the island’s coastline, as it is part of a marine national monument. The only way to get onto the island is by boat.

Is There Food Available On Douglas Island?

There are limited supplies available for visitors, although some restaurants in Nanaimo offer delivery service to the island. The islanders do not sell much food on the mainland, but they will sometimes provide fresh shellfish harvested nearby.

Is There A Community Centre/School On Douglas Island?

There is a school on Douglas Island, which recently celebrated its 200th anniversary. The island’s residents usually rely on the classroom facilities at Nanaimo Regional High School for education and recreation (although elementary programs are not offered).

How Many People Live In The Community Of Douglas?

Currently there are eight households and six or seven family groups living permanently on the island, along with staff members working at park offices during normal business hours. Some visitors can make the 45-minute boat ride to enjoy former community amenities such as workshops, a café and beach access.

What Kind Of Weather Does Douglas Island Experience?

The island is known for having strong winds out of the southwest and fog in winter from late June through early October each year. A wind warning is issued at least once every 24 hours during these months to advise residents about potential gale warnings or more substantial weather events that may affect their travel plans.

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