AVALON, CA (June 27, 2016) - The Catalina Island Conservancy
celebrated another major milestone in IMAGINE CATALINA, its long-range
strategic vision and master plan, with a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday for
its new visitors’ center, The Trailhead.
A crowd of supporters – including Avalon leaders and the
Conservancy’s Board of Directors, Members and staff – attended the event at the
site of the new center on Crescent Avenue, the main thoroughfare for visitors
arriving by ferry from the mainland.
“The Trailhead is a flagship project for IMAGINE CATALINA, a
long-term strategic vision to guide the Conservancy for the next 20-plus
years,” said Ann M. Muscat, PhD, Conservancy president emeritus. “The Trailhead
will be a game-changer for the Conservancy, dramatically increasing the
organization’s presence in Avalon. It will give us the opportunity to share
with visitors and residents the uniqueness of Catalina, why it is an ecological
treasure and how they can participate in taking care of it.”
The innovative three-story building will feature educational
exhibits and programs to provide visitors and residents with insights into the
Conservancy’s mission and work and the Island’s natural history, ecology and
geology. The Trailhead will also provide a portal to the wild side through the
Conservancy’s popular, naturalist-led Jeep Eco Tours, the Wildlands Express
Shuttle Service, the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden and its nature
centers in Avalon and the Airport in the Sky.
The Trailhead will supply a new community gathering spot
while also providing users with information about hiking, biking and camping.
The 9,000-square-foot building will have three decks offering sweeping views of
Avalon, the bay and the surrounding Island. Multi-purpose meeting spaces will
be available for Conservancy events, community activities, corporate meetings
and weddings. The Trailhead also will feature a mission-related retail space
and a café.
The Trailhead will be Avalon’s first LEED-certified
building. To fulfill the green-building standards for LEED certification, The
Trailhead will have a state-of-the-art water-saving and management system,
which will include a water harvesting system to capture and reuse rain water
for landscaping and other non-potable uses. The Conservancy also proposed the
installation of a local desalination unit to convert saltwater to drinkable
water and will be seeking the necessary approvals for it.
At least 30% of The Trailhead’s energy will be generated by
solar panels attached to the roof of the building, and all systems will be
energy efficient. The heating and air conditioning units, for instance, will
exceed current energy efficiency standards by at least 25%. All the materials
used in building will have high recycled content. Among the recycled content
will be lumber from the Catherine Hotel, the former occupant of the site. The
lumber will be used for concrete forms and other construction uses.
The anticipated opening date for The Trailhead is the summer
of 2018. The Conservancy is also slated to celebrate the launch of IMAGINE
CATALINA’s next major project in October 2016: Trekking Catalina – A Master
Trails Plan. This is a comprehensive plan for a sustainable master trails
system, which will create a world-class hiking experience. It will be the
biggest addition to the Island’s trail system since the opening of the
37.2-mile Trans-Catalina Trail in 2009.
“We are so grateful to our generous donors and supporters
who have made The Trailhead and Trekking Catalina possible,” said Muscat.
“Their gifts are helping us fulfill one of the major goals of IMAGINE CATALINA
by creating opportunities for people to connect to the land through
nature-based recreational and educational opportunities.”
About the Conservancy
Formed in 1972, the Catalina Island Conservancy is one of
California's oldest land trusts. Its mission is to be a responsible steward of
its lands through a balance of conservation, education and recreation. Through
its ongoing efforts, the Conservancy protects the magnificent natural and cultural
heritage of Santa Catalina Island, stewarding approximately 42,000 acres of
land and more than 60 miles of rugged shoreline. It provides an airport and 50
miles of biking and nearly 150 miles of hiking opportunities within its road
and trail system. The Conservancy conducts educational outreach through two
nature centers, its Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden and guided
experiences in the Island’s rugged interior. Twenty miles from the mainland,
the Island is a treasure trove of historical and archaeological sites. It also
contains numerous rare and endangered animals and plants. The Island is home to
60 species – and counting – that are found only on Catalina. For additional
information, please visit www.catalinaconservancy.org.