A few weeks ago we addressed the top question asked by visitors, “what happens if you miss the boat” (Which you can find here). In continuing our ongoing exploration of the most frequently asked questions, we caught up with Park Ranger and thirteen-year island resident Casey Lee to address the second-place island quandary — “DO PEOPLE LIVE ON ANGEL ISLAND?”
-What are some of the best things about living on the island?
The busy, sometimes crazy days talking to hundreds of people and then the contrast of the quiet, peaceful evenings admiring the view, I wouldn’t appreciate one without the other.
-And some of the difficulties?
Groceries are an epic weekly project, but the hardest thing is keeping in touch with friends who have “regular jobs” working Monday-Friday because I work on the weekends.
-Do you have a favorite fact about the island? Or an especially obscure one?
I love the diversity of the island’s natural and cultural history, there is something for everyone. My favorite obscure facts are that the island is taller than it used to be, the top was restored to its pre-Cold War height of 788 feet, when I moved to the island it was only 781 feet tall. The other fun fact about Angel Island is that it has one animal that is endemic to the island (it only lives here), the Angel Island mole. It is a sub-species of the broad-footed mole and is slightly genetically different due to its long isolation from the mainland. I’m slightly obsessed with telling people about the mole, to the point that I convinced my co-workers to call our pub quiz team the “Angel Island Moles” and made up a bean bag toss game we use at kids’ events called “Holey Moley” to help teach kids about the moles adaptations for living underground.
-Is there a particular part of the island (besides home) that you like to spend your time, or that is special to you?
Silvia’s Tree, that is not an official name, but Silvia Lange, a volunteer who led nature hikes before she passed away, introduced me to the spot. It is along the vein of serpentine (CA state rock) on the island, one of the oldest native trees on the island grows there. It is a coast live oak that has huge branches growing near the ground amongst the serpentine, there is moss and lichen growing on both so you can barely tell where the tree ends and the rocks begin. I got married by this tree, so that gives it additional meaning to me.
-Is there anything you think people sometimes overlook when they come to Angel Island? Anything that you would like to share more about?
I think most people get exactly what they need from the island, there are boundless opportunities for history lovers, hikers, bikers and boaters, but my personal goal is spread the word to those that have never been to Angel Island State Park but live close enough to make the trip. I hear from people almost every day, that they have lived in the area for many years, but never been to Angel Island before today. Today is the day to come to Angel Island, don’t put it off, you won’t be disappointed.