American Bald Eagle
An American Bald Eagle holding a Fish Kleptoparasitized from a Sea Otter or an Osprey, or is it not a fish at all but a Goat. If it be a Goat, then hooray for the Eagle at removing one of the "hooved locusts" from our Catalina Island. Even the Eagle knows that the Goat, Buffalo, Deer, Pig, Antelope, and Horse should not be on Catalina Island

Compiled by Robert Roy van de Hoek
November 2000

The prose by Blanche Trask presented below comes from an article she wrote for the LA TIMES when Charles Lummis had influence at the LA TIMES. The article was published 94 years ago in 1906. "OUR ISLAND FAUNA (goats)" was her last article to be published by the LA TIMES in 1906, as it appeared on December2. It would also be her last published essay article of any kind. She only published one more piece of writing after 1906, and that was a poem.

Blanche Trask was without a doubt, in my mind, the premier naturalist of the California Channel Islands at the turn-of-the-century. She is perhaps the most important, although not widely known, woman naturalist of southern California and the California Islands at the turn-of-the-century (1895-1910). No one did better at explaining the mystical landscape and seascapes of southern California. Does the California coast have a soul and the islands at the heart? If so, Blanche Trask shows us that more than any literary and scientific naturalist of southern California.

I wish that I could present more of the article to you but it appears to be lost to researchers. If time and financial resources existed, it could most likely be discovered as could all of her LA TIMES essays. Please see the "LAND ANIMALS OF THE CHANNEL ISLANDS" web page for further information. Let me add here that it is OK for it to be a mystery for now, as to what additional glimpses into Blanche Trask and her relationship to the land and sea of the Islands could be gained from being able to read her whole article." In any regard, the brief notation of a "Grand Canon" on San Clemente Island with caves is interesting analogy to the Arizona Grand Canyon. And we can get a glimpse at how destructive the goats are to archaeological sites and native plants by noting that goats are found in the caves and thus must also walk over the cliff edges to get to the caves. Some rare plants of San Clemente are now only found on the cliff edges of the island. Lastly, we need to be thankful that the goats are now completely removed from San Clemente as of 1994. We can only hope that eventually the goats will be completely removed from Catalina.

Blanche Trask
December 2, 1906
Excerpts from the Article

Adelaide Doran on page 49 of her notable book PIECES OF EIGHT CHANNEL ISLANDS refers to Blanche Trask as follows: Mrs. Trask, in her article for the Los Angeles Times, remarked that Gallagher took a pair of goats to San Clemente, ... "and today goats are common at the East end; and in all the caves of the Grand Canon ... their little heads are to be seen as though looking down at you from the windows of their homes."

Doran also briefly quotes Blanche Trask with a single word as follows in reference to San Clemente Island as well: Another WEST END ... "rancho" ... was where Johnny Robearts lived

Closing Thoughts, 94 Years Later,
Another Naturalist at the Turn-of-the-21st-Century
on the
Writings of Blanche Trask

As the author of this web page, I must acknowledge my bias for California Wild Nature, in this case the California Channel Islands. Blanche Trask was undeniably a naturalist for California Wild Nature. I hope for the day when the RECOVERY of the Bald Eagle, Osprey, and Sea Otter can occur on San Clemente Island. As long as this island remains in Navy hands, the Eagle will probably never return there. It is imperative to have San Clemente Island become part of the Channel Islands National Park.

Planes and bombs should not be flying through the air over San Clemente Island, instead there could be the American Osprey and the American Bald Eagle flying over San Clemente Island. Wouldn't you agree? Blanche Trask would certainly agree.

Is the Guadalupe Fur Seal, the rarest and most endangered of any of the seals found in California making a comeback to San Clemente Island? Not yet, but again why isn't the Navy doing something to accelerate the recovery of the Guadalupe Fur Seal back to San Clemente Island

Hooray for the seals, otters, and the "sea-birds" that Blanche Trask praises in her elegantly written words. Let us return San Clemente Island back to a wildness as there is preservation of the world in doing so. Let us add a little to "CALIFORNIA WILD NATURE" by preserving San Clemente Island as the 6th island of the Channel Islands National Park. San Clemente Island is only about 20 miles from Santa Barbara Island which is already part of Channel Islands National Park.