About the Catalina Insland Interior and Conservancy
The small city of Avalon occupies approximately one square mile on an island nearly 26 miles long and 8 miles wide at its widest point. There is a smaller community at the opposite end of the island called Two Harbors, which offers a general store, a restaurant, the USC ocean research facility, lots of boat moorings and a small-secluded beach.
There are four enterprises located in the interior of the island: Rancho Escondido, the Wrigley champion Arabian horse ranch; Middle Ranch which hosts the Rusack vineyards where very good Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are grown; Airport in the Sky where private planes land; KBRT radio transmitter which provides an exceptionally strong signal over the salt water.
Most of the island between these outposts is owned and managed by the Catalina Island Conservancy, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to preserving the natural state of the island, its wildlife and flora. Essentially, the Conservancy is trying to keep the island as it was in the 1870’s with the exception of a few roads, electric wires and several herds of wild buffalo, who roam the island.
The interior of the island and much of the coast offer opportunities for naturalists, people interested in environmental preservation along with hikers and boaters. It is a special place. Hiking through this country is like traveling back in time to Old California. Hiking, biking and camping permits are available from the Conservancy office in Avalon, 125 Clarissa Avenue, (310) 510-2595.
Because of the careful division between commercial development and the non-profit Catalina Island Conservancy, Catalina Island is the only coastal California Island where a visitor can enjoy the raw natural environment with the sophisticated amenities of a full service city.
All potable water on Catalina Island comes from rain and a few island springs. There is no connection to any water supply on the mainland and constant water conservation is a normal way of life.
Lack of water is an important reason the island has not been developed more than it has been and why there are so few swimming pools.
Most islanders take shorter showers and use water very sparingly. It is a good idea for visitors to treat water the same way.
Restaurants will not serve water unless it is requested.
There is a separate salt water system on the island for toilets, so fresh water is not wasted for this purpose.
Please use water sparingly – it is a precious resource on this island.