Channel Islands Harbor celebrates 50th anniversary

VENTURA — Southern California’s recreational boating community certainly had to be pleased with how the spring of 1965 played out, what with two harbors officially opening within weeks of each other.

The county has announced plans to host six months of themed events to celebrate Channel Harbor Island’s landmark birthday. The theme for each event is “Celebrating the 60s.”

The county’s supervisors will kick off the six-month celebration period with a 50th anniversary recognition during its regularly scheduled meeting June 9. Photos of the harbor, both historic and modern, will be on display at the county’s Hall of Administration from June 9 -19 and then again at the Channel Islands Maritime Museum from June 20 -July 10.

Boaters, residents and visitors will be able to participate in a series of commemorative events beginning July 4 to honor the harbor’s golden anniversary.

“Starting with Fourth of July weekend, we’ll have special events beginning with three days of concerts, an arts festival, expanded fireworks and special Farmer’s Market events,” Harbor Department Director Lyn Krieger said. “There will be a series of summer concerts, fun runs, car shows, children’s programs and it all finishes off with our fabulous Parade of Lights in December. Running through all of it will be our ‘Celebrating the 60s’ theme.”

The county-owned harbor, which is located in between Ventura Harbor and Port Hueneme, occupies more than 300 acres of land and water. According to county officials, Channel Islands Harbor was a shell of its current self when it was originally built.

After World War II, the Army Corps of Engineers ordered a sand trap be built at what is now the mouth of Channel Islands Harbor to address constant erosion at Port Hueneme, which was then controlled by the federal government. The addition of a breakwater and jetty to protect the sand trap opened the door to build a harbor. Local developers, county officials and the federal government worked together to build the harbor entrance and seawalls. Construction began in 1959 and was completed four years later. County officials finished the rest of the harbor area two years later and dedicated Channel Islands Harbor in May 1965.

Ventura County officials hosted a grand opening for Channel Islands Harbor in May 1965, a few weeks after Marina del Rey was dedicated by Los Angeles County’s leaders in April.

Boaters were able to access slips at Channel Islands Harbor as early as 1963, making the waterfront venue Ventura County’s the first recreational harbor.

Private developers eventually added eight marinas to complement three marinas constructed by the county.

Today, the 11 marinas are home to more than 2,000 boat slips and a combination of boater amenities, visitor-serving businesses and residences.
To find out more about the harbor, visit channelislandsharbor.org. The complete schedule of events is available at tinyurl.com/opqxuc9.

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