Trail Worker Recovering Following Bison Charge

* The Catalina Island Conservancy is distributing the following media release for our partners at American Conservation Experience.


Flagstaff, AZ (August 27, 2015) - On Wednesday, August 26th, American Conservation Experience, President and CEO Chris Baker was injured by a Bison while on Catalina Island, California.

Please note that Mr. Baker was not taking photos of bison when he was attacked. He was doing field work (GPS/Mapping) for a bid he is producing for Catalina Island Conservancy to create a new trail system for the island.

As Mr. Baker was walking down a trail he turned a corner and a bison was directly in his path. He tried to slowly move away from the animal when it charged him. Fortunately Mr. Baker was able to walk approximately a ¼ mile down the trail in attempt to seek help when three off duty firefighters and paramedics found him and were the first to respond to his injuries. A local lifeguard was also on scene. They immediately called 911. The Los Angeles County Sherriff’s office responded and Mr. Baker was airlifted off the island and taken to Harbor UCLA Medical Center.

Mr. Baker sustained moderate injuries and is currently recovering and doing well.

Chris would like to publicly thank Firefighters/EMT’s, Nathan Norris, Arnold Pane and Jay Williams for their rapid response and immediate aid as well as the Catalina lifeguard and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office for assisting.

ACE has been in partnership with the Catalina Island Conservancy since 2008 working with the CIC to provide various conservation and education programs to young adults in a service learning environment. ACE has had a great safety record while working on the island and will continue to work with CIC to foster a love of the natural environment through our continued partnership promoting education and service learning experiences.

The Catalina Island Conservancy wishes to extend best wishes to Mr. Baker: 

“We wish Chris a rapid recovery, and know he’s getting the best of medical care. Incidents like this are extremely rare and we would like to remind visitors to Catalina Island’s scenic trails that bison are large, free ranging animals that can move very quickly.”

** UPDATE 3:00 PM - Friday, August 28th **

Chris and his family have issued the following statement:

Words cannot express how relieved and grateful we are for those who came to the aid of Chris while he was injured on Catalina Island.

Thank You to firefighter/EMT’s, Nathan Norris, Arnold Pane and Jay Williams. We are so grateful for your rapid first response. Thank You to Paramedics Steve Kirkland and Dustin Stevens, and Conservancy Ranger Phil Lopez.  As well as the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office and helicopter transport crew.  We want to extend our deepest gratitude to all of you that were involved for your help in giving Chris immediate aid. You saved his life.  Thank You from the bottom of our hearts.

We would also like to thank the Doctors, Nurses and hospital staff at UCLA Harbor Medical Center for the professional care you have provided.

We want to clarify a few comments that have been made in the press...

Chris was not taking photos of the bison when he was attacked. As it states in ACE’s earlier press release, Chris was walking down a trail and rounded a corner when he came face to face with the bison. He was charged and he did play dead to avoid further injuries from the animal. Once the animal left the area and he felt he was no longer in danger he managed to walk down the trail to search for help. Chris was gored by the animal and suffered from a punctured lung and broken ribs. Chris is expected to make a full recovery.

For more information regarding ACE please contact Susie Jardine at 928-699-5791 or email at

For information regarding Catalina Island Conservancy, please contact Matt McClain at 949-228-1171 or


About ACE

ACE is grounded in the philosophy that cooperative labor on meaningful conservation projects fosters cross cultural understanding and operates in the belief that challenging volunteer service unites people of all backgrounds in common cause.

About the Catalina Island 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