Care for Catalina
Catalina Island is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind destination with visitors traveling from around the world. The Care for Catalina programs were developed to encourage dedication to conservation and sustainability efforts on Catalina Island to limit human impacts, protect the environment, and to learn more about Catalina's approach to sustainability and commitment to future generations. Together with community and statewide partners, Love Catalina Island Tourism Authority is fostering a new standard and better environment for all.
Visit Catalina Island, but with a light footprint.
When visiting Catalina Island, the need to be conscious of limiting waste and consumption of precious resources is paramount to the long-term experiences had by visitors and residents alike. Likewise, limiting human impacts and protecting our environment are necessary so that future generations can continue to enjoy this very special place.
What we're doing
As a community, we are working hard on sustainability. The Catalina Island Conservancy manages nearly 90 percent of Catalina’s majestic landscape. Learn about and respect the spaces they protect and offer for your enjoyment. They were honored as CalTravel's Tourism Steward of the year for 2018/19 due to their extensive work on trails and greening of infrastructure under their control (and much, much more). We also work closely with the Catalina Island Marine Protection Area's collaborative group to inform where boating and fishing is allowed/limited or not allowed around our island. Download a map of Catalina's Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
The majority, if not all, of our local fishing boats and seafood restaurants support sustainable practices too. Love Catalina Island, the Catalina Island Tourism Authority, is a proud member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. Check out our destination vision and work plan here. Care for Catalina is an evolving program, so check back frequently for additions and changes.
What you can do
One of the best ways to minimize your impact as a visitor, is to travel to our more off-the-beaten path locations or at off-peak days/times of year. Some other ways to visit the island with a limited impact are outlined below. July is the busiest month of the year and Saturdays have the highest number of guests arriving on the island. For assistance in planning your low impact visit, contact the Catalina Island Visitor Center. We are always open to suggestions and comments based on your experience on the island. Learn more about what you can do to travel responsibly from the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, including how and why to travel responsibly.
Leave it like you found it, or even better!
- Carry in, Carry out. Pick up litter and place crumbs, peels and cores in your nearest waste/recycling bin. If you brought it with you to the island, please take it home when you go.
- Treat all living things with respect. Carving or hacking plants and trees may kill or disfigure them.
- One of the most important items to take away are plastic beach toys. For the comfort and space among your fellow travelers, be sure to deflate them before heading home,
- Leave plants, rocks and historical items as you find them so others experience the joy of discovery.
- Any of our 400 native plants and 200 non-native plant species will live forever in a photo. Snap away, but only with a camera.
- Participate in Voluntourism programs like beach clean-ups, harbor clean-ups and more. Consider making a group project of Voluntourism before or after your island meeting/event.
- Avoid use of plastics whenever possible, as plastics are the top ocean pollutant and are extremely harmful to ocean species.
- If you come into contact with a sick or injured wild animal contact the appropriate agency for their care. Report sick or injured marine animals to 800-399-4253 and land animals to 310-510-0393.
Care for our precious natural resources
- Skipping a linen change in your Hotel or Bed & Breakfast stay saves over 17 gallons of water and reduces use of fossil fuels and cleaning chemicals.
- Short Showers should be the norm no matter where you go, but even more so on Catalina Island where we have to depend on mother nature or expensive desalinization systems to provide water.
- Avoid sunscreens with high content of Titanium Dioxide. This mineral does not biodegrade and is found to react in warm seawater to form hydrogen peroxide which is harmful to all sea life. Oxybenzone and octinoxate, the two chemicals recently banned in Hawaii and are believed to cause coral bleaching.
- Keep your distance. Wash yourself, your dog or whatever else needs cleaning at least 200 feet from waterways, and use biodegradable soap.
Protect marine life ~ boater information
- Never dump raw sewage into the waters in and around the island.*
- Use public toilets onshore.
- Use pump out facilities (Catalina Harbor or Two Harbors) to dispose of holding tank waste.
- Keep “Y” valve properly secured and in the closed position when navigating around the island to prevent accidental discharge.
- Use caution when filling your fuel tank and don’t top off.
- Inspect fuel lines and hoses periodically. Replace when needed.
- Do not hose down gas spills or apply detergents or soaps to spill.
- Keep your bilges clean and well maintained. Do not use detergents while cleaning.
- Never throw trash overboard.
- Prevent plastic bags, drink cans and loose items from blowing overboard.
- Separate all trash; a trash pick-up vessel, “The Salad Boat," services all leeside coves during the summer months. However, returning your trash to the mainland is greatly appreciated.
- Avalon Harbor Dept. discharge ordinance *Discharges of untreated sewage are prohibited within the navigable waters of the U.S. Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C.1321 et seq.)
Hiking, Camping, Biking
Pack light, pack right
- Bring along reusable water bottles or hot drink tumblers to limit waste and stay hydrated without the plastic waste. A map of Avalon’s free water bottle filling stations and additional options are found in campgrounds in the Island’s interior.
- Every ounce counts in fuel consumption on our boats, planes and helicopters that bring guests to and from the island. Coordinate with your fellow travelers to eliminate duplication in packing. Limit your total weight of carry-ons to 50lbs or less. Avalon’s stores and restaurants offer most everything you would find on the mainland, so there is no need to pack food and supplies except for highly specialized items.
Stick To It (the Trail that is)
- Even though shortcuts can be tempting, please don’t take them. A few extra strides on the path will protect plants and the homes of the true locals.
- With 165 miles of marked trails, eight designated campsites and 17 boat-in campsites, there’s no need to venture beyond. By sticking to these areas and camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams, you’re helping natural areas stay natural.
Be Careful With Fire
- Always check for fire restrictions.
- Despite our cool island breezes, summer heat can create dry, dangerous conditions. Keep campfires small and manageable to avoid sparking wildfires. Use only designated locations for campfires.
- Never let a fire burn unattended. When putting out a fire, water it until you can handle the embers.
- Use care when smoking. Always put cigarettes out completely and don’t leave your butts behind. And, beware, there is no smoking allowed on Avalon’s beaches.
Keep Wildlife Wild
- Catalina is home to over 60 plant and animal species found only on Catalina Island and nowhere else in the world. It is not unusual to come into their proximity. To keep them – and you – safe, don’t approach them.
- It is not adorable to feed wild animals. You could alter natural behaviors, exposing them to predators or even euthanasia.
- Keep your pets leashed when enjoying dog-friendly trails, and pack out their waste ... all the way to a trash can. Dogs are not allowed on Avalon’s waterfront beaches or along Crescent Avenue, but there are plenty of pet-friendly places to take Fido elsewhere.
Politely Share the Trails, Camps & Beaches
- Get some JOMO (Joy of Missing Out), by silencing your cell phone before stepping into nature and speaking softly without using the speaker function.
- Chances are you’re not out in nature to people watch, so try out the lesser-known paths and sites.
- Be considerate when passing others on the trails and yield to the uphill hiker and biker – they need the momentum.
- Listen to nature. Keep your voice and music soft so all can enjoy the peace of Catalina Island.
Community Based Actions
Care for Catalina is not only about visiting the island, it’s also about caring for the island as a resident.
- Community-wide clean-up day. On April 13, 2019 we held our first community wide clean-up day. Participants include civic groups like Avalon Rotary and Interact Clubs, City of Avalon Public Works and Department of Recreation, area nonprofits including the Catalina Island Conservancy and Avalon Beautiful, plus a wide range of for-profit businesses, like Catalina Divers Supply, all donating time, talent and money to make the clean-up have a high impact. Check our calendar for upcoming community clean up days.
- We have also done a study to determine the ways visitors and locals are taxing our infrastructure and determined that but for a handful of days per year, our infrastructure is meeting demand.
- In partnership with SMG, we implemented a resident and business sentiment survey that asked questions about the impressions both sectors have on the impacts of visitors to the island and to segment any differences in the impressions by homeowner, vacation homeowner, business owner, renter, etc.
Do Your Part - Recycling on Catalina
Avalon Underwater Clean up
2023 By the Numbers / Updates:
Community Clean-Ups In 2023, Care for Catalina conducted four community clean-ups with various community partners, including the City of Avalon, Bleu World, Rotary Club of Avalon, and the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.
The May 2023 Community Clean-Up efforts were made possible with the support of the Avalon Rotary Club and its Interact Club Members, along with over 100 LA County Sheriff’s Explorers. This group of volunteers removed well over 100 lbs. of trash from Catalina’s beaches, canyons, and popular viewpoints. To continue Catalina's commitment to preserving the Island, monthly clean-ups have been scheduled for the remainder of 2023.
The clean-up efforts don’t stop on land. In April, the annual Avalon Harbor underwater clean-up focused on Catalina’s beautiful ocean and removing harmful debris from the underwater areas. Catalina Divers Supply and Avalon Rotary Club planned and arranged for 500 registered divers, 70 non-diving participants, and over 60 volunteers to support the ocean clean-up.
Invasive Plant Removal
Invasive species can be detrimental to the health of an ecosystem and cause harm to the environment and even human health. On April 13, Care for Catalina organized an Invasive Plant Removal Day at White’s Landing. Volunteers helped with the removal of 17,247 Sea Rocket Plants, an invasive weed species on the Island. 15 team members and helpers from Love Catalina and Catalina Island Conservancy came out to support.
Recycling and thinking about efficiency are as important as Care for Catalina's clean-up efforts. During April, a Shred Day was hosted with 13 local businesses and five volunteers. The goal was to shred old documents that could be recycled off the Island. As a result of Shred Day, 189 boxes of documents were picked up for shredding and recycling, making this event a monumental success.
Kind Traveler Program
Travelers visiting the island can play an important role in the conservation of Catalina Island. Love Catalina has partnered with Visit California to launch the Kind Traveler Program—a sustainable tourism effort that will encourage guests to donate to Catalina’s conservation efforts. Travelers who book a hotel stay directly via the Kind Traveler website will be prompted to donate to the Catalina Island Conservancy or Catalina’s Marine Animal Rescue Program. While this program is still under development, The two nonprofits and a few hotels are fully on board already, with more lodging options in the works. Avalon Hotel and Zane Grey Pueblo Hotel, are leading the way among lodgers.
Care for Catalina has worked hard to prevent unnecessary pollution on the island and is excited to announce that Biodiesel is now the fuel of choice for most of the passenger ferries serving Catalina. Biodiesel is a renewable, biodegradable fuel manufactured from vegetable oils and soybeans. The Catalina Express has implemented a biodiesel fuel program for vessels fueling at its two busiest departure points—the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach.
Catalina Express has always been environmentally conscious and has strived to go above environmental regulations to help preserve Southern California’s coastline. Over the years, Catalina Express has worked closely with marine architects and engine manufacturers to develop vessels that reduce emissions. “Each of the eight vessels has been re-engined to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions and updated to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 2 or Tier 3 regulations for emissions levels,” says Greg Bombard, President and CEO of Catalina Express. As far back as 2017, the Port of Los Angeles has reported that Catalina Express has reduced 800 tons of nitrogen oxide emissions, 30 tons of particulate matter emissions, and 10,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions – the equivalent of 10,000 cars.
Recently the City of Avalon approved a requirement for future commercial vehicles (autoettes) to be powered by electricity, effective January 1, 2024. In addition, the city is putting into service an all-electric fleet for its transit services. The new electric vehicles will consist of 2 full-size ADA-compliant vans and up to 4 micro-transit vehicles that are not only electric but much smaller in size. “We are very excited because the vans will be arriving in Avalon and placed into service by the end of June and the micro-transit shortly thereafter,” said City Manager David Maistros.
CARE For Catalina Partners
The following organizations have joined in partnership with the Care for Catalina in improving the sustainability of the Island.
- Avalon Beautiful
- City of Avalon
- Bleu World (Community Clean-ups)
- Bluewater Avalon (sustainable seafood)
- Catalina Divers Supply (Underwater clean-ups)
- Catalina Express
- Catalina Island Marine Protection Areas
- Catalina Island Conservancy
- Catalina Island Marine Animal Rescue
- Catalina Island Company
- Kind Traveler
- Rotary Club of Avalon
- Scuba by Design - Learn about Kelp Forest Conservation and become a Citizen Scientist for the day.
- Visit California
- Wrigley Institute (research and sustainability center located at Two Harbors on Catalina Island)
Love Catalina Island and participating hotel and charity partners are proud to partner with Kind Traveler to support the important work of Catalina Island Conservancy, supporting positive community & environmental impact in our destination.
Catalina Island Conservancy is one of the oldest private land trusts in the state and it opens its wildlands for the public to enjoy in a variety of ways through 165 miles of recreational roads and trails and 62 miles of unspoiled beaches and coves. They are an exemplary steward of Island resources through a balance of conservation, education, and recreation. Their work is vital to our destination, and we’re excited about this new opportunity to get our industry partners and future visitors involved.
Through Kind Traveler’s new Every Stay Gives Back (ESGB) program designed to advance sustainable & regenerative tourism principles, we’ve created a formalized giving program for hotels to mobilize funding for local Catalina Island nonprofits with every guest stay, regardless of where the booking originated.
Stay tuned for updates as we confirm participating lodging and additional charity partners.
Love Catalina Care For Catalina Sustainable Tourism Award
Who: Catalina Divers Supply
Date: July 28, 2023
Nominated for: 2023 Avalon Harbor Underwater Cleanup
Conservation Story: The Care For Catalina Sustainable Tourism Award is given in acknowledgment of outstanding efforts made by a business or organization in support of sustainable tourism on Catalina Island. Care For Catalina initiatives were adopted by the Catalina Island Tourism Authority in 2019. The Sustainable Tourism Business of the Year Award was established to recognize an extraordinary contribution by a business to the furtherance of sustainable tourism in/to Avalon and Catalina Island. Catalina Divers Supply received multiple nominations for successfully managing the Avalon Harbor Underwater Clean-up.
Southern California Edison's Water Conservation Program
Who: Chet's Hardware
Nominated by: Steve Whittington
Conservation Story: Since Aug 2022, Chet's Hardware installed an 850-gallon storage tank to collect air conditioner and ice machine condensation, with plans to also connect it to their rain runoff system. The water collected goes to their Nursery, which saves an estimated 600 gallons per month (7,200 gallons/year, 0.022 acre-feet per year).
Validation: Customer’s water use reduction of >25% in Summer 2022 vs Summer 2021, even when the rest of the system showed an average increase of roughly 12%
Have a nomination? Please send your water conservation story to email@example.com to help spread awareness in the community and have a chance to receive a small prize.
$10 Off Catalina Island Ferry
Hop onboard the Catalina Flyer for daily ferry service from Newport Beach to Avalon, Catalina Island in just over 1 hour.
Online reservations are now open!
A sparkling night of evening gowns, tuxedos, champagne, dining and dancing on Sunday, December 31 in the world-famous Casino Ballroom.