Events at Fort Ross State Historic Park

See past events here
California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact (707) 847-3437.

Ongoing - Every month, 2nd Saturday: Fort Ross Windmill Maintenance

Windmill maintenance by Friends of the Windmill occurs on the following schedule. Join us for an informal talk about the windmill and its maintenance. Questions? Email Lindsey at

Ongoing - Marine Mammal Monitoring At Fort Ross

Upcoming Fort Ross Harbor Seal Surveys and Sea Lion Observations/Surveys
Join us to learn more about our local pinnipeds and assist with our citizen scientist effort monitoring the Harbor Seals and Steller Sea Lions along our coast, now two or three times a month until autumn. This approximately two-mile, two-hour low-tide fieldwork begins with scoping out the inhabitants of our Sea Lion Rocks, the large Steller Sea Lions plus California Sea Lions, and then proceeding along our ocean bluff shores completing our Harbor Seal survey, ending at Fort Ross Cove.

Meet at Fort Ross State Historic Park Visitor Center then carpool to roadside trailhead at Highway One Mile Marker 33.52. If you're parking at Fort Ross, California State Park entrance fees do apply (unless you've worked for and received a Volunteers in Parks pass).

Harbor Seal Surveys & Steller Sea Lion Observations

  • Sunday, April 20, 9:45am
  • Saturday, April 26, 3:00pm
  • Saturday, May 3, 8:45am
  • Saturday, May 10, 2:30pm
  • Sunday, May 25, 2:30pm
  • Tentatively scheduled future dates: June 7, June 20, July 5, July 19, August 2.

Please note that additional complete Steller Sea Lion surveys will be scheduled just prior to survey, weather and conditions permitting. These surveys will usually be lead by marine biologist Joe Mortenson and will meet at Highway One Mile Marker 34.00. Please call or email us for further information.

Also visit FRC's marine mammal pages for background on these wonderful creatures.

For more Marine Mammal Monitoring program information or to confirm monitoring dates, status and weather conditions, please contact: Hank Birnbaum, Fort Ross Conservancy, or (707) 847-3437.

 Fort Ross orchard bellflower

Saturday, April 12: Celebrating 200 Years of the Historic Fort Ross Orchard

In 1814, the Russians at Fort Ross began their orchard by planting a peach tree. For over 150 years they and the ranchers who followed planted trees and harvested fruit from the site, and a number of historic trees still survive today.

In celebration of the historic Fort Ross orchard’s 200th anniversary, the Fort Ross Conservancy is hosting a conference on orchards and orchard management. Lectures by experts from the National Park Service and California State Parks will discuss the history of orchards, historic orchard care, and tree preservation. A tour of the Fort Ross orchard will follow, with an opportunity to discuss recent management at the site.

Conference speakers include:

  • Susan Dolan, Park Cultural Landscapes Program Manager with the National Park Service, will provide an overview of the history of orchards, and some basic techniques in orchard stabilization,
  • Jan Wooley, Historic Preservationist with California State Parks, will discuss orchards and ongoing work within the California State Parks System,
  • Susan Rudy, Fort Ross Conservancy Advisor and lead orchard volunteer, will describe the history and ongoing care of the Fort Ross orchard,
  • Amigo Bob Cantisano will discuss the Felix Gillet Historic Orchard Project. This organization identifies, preserves, and propagates the best varieties of fruit and nut trees still thriving in the mining camps, farms, homesteads and towns of the Sierra that were introduced by Felix Gillet, of Nevada City, Calfiornia, in 1871.


  • 10am - 1pm: Lecture/Presentations in the Fort Ross Visitor Center auditorium
  • 1:30-2:30pm: Lunch at the orchard
  • 2:30-3:30: Historic Fort Ross Orchard tour
  • 4pm Optional tour of the Fort Ross Historic Compound

Special event fees apply. Space is limited; Tickets available at Eventbrite or available at the Visitor Center on the day of event.

  • $10 per person for conference and historic orchard tour.
  • *Plus* California State Parks entrance fee of $8 per car when parking at Fort Ross. (Please carpool!)
  • Optional boxed lunch delivered to the orchard: $15/ person, advanced purchase only.
    Or you are welcome to bring your own picnic lunch.

Questions? Email us for more information. For more information on the historic Fort Ross orchard see our orchard pages.

Thanks go to Renova Fort Ross Foundation for underwriting many of our orchard preservation projects over the past few years.

Saturday, April 26: Sonoma Seaweed Workshop

1pm Illustrated Presentation at Fort Ross Visitor Center auditorium
3pm - 4:40 Field work

We live in abundance, including a rich variety of seaweeds! Seaweeds can be used as food, medicine and fertilizer.

Nori, wakame, bladderwrack and kombu are just a few of the local seaweeds that we'll learn about. The informative illustrated presentation includes how to identify, sustainably harvest and use our coastal "sea vegetables" and will also discuss pollutants, the health of our coastlines, harvest cycles and the health benefits of seaweed. Later in the afternoon, with expert guidance, we'll go on a foray and practice our identification skills and more.

Heidi Herrmann is a farmer and owner of Strong Arm Farm in Healdsburg. She teaches Sustainable Agriculture at Santa Rosa Junior College and vends at the Sebastopol and Healdsburg farmer's markets. Heidi is an avid seaweed harvester and the only legal commercial seaweed harvester in Sonoma County.

Special event fees apply; $40 full day including lecture and field work, or $15 lecture only (plus California State Parks $8 per car entrance fee).Tickets available at Eventbrite.

Saturday, May 17: All Alaska Native Day & Annual Spring Festival

Two hundred years ago Fort Ross was a very busy place. The settlement was almost self-sufficient in producing what it needed. Ships were built, bricks fired, cattle raised, iron forged, and all things were traded with the Spanish. But one should ask: who were these industrious Fort Ross workers?

While the Russian leadership at Fort Ross is well known, it bears mentioning that Russians always numbered far fewer than the Alaska Natives and American Natives.

Of the Alaska Natives, there were many from Kodiak Island, and several from outer Aleutian Islands. These Alaskans contributed greatly to Fort Ross, and yet we have not explored their story nor acknowledged their sacrifices.

On May 17th we launch what we hope will become an annual event at Fort Ross: the All Alaska Native Day. This event will pay tribute to the enormous importance of the Alaska Native people who were so influential in the history of Fort Ross. It will be a full day, with presentations by historian Dan Murley and writer and baidarka-builder George Dyson, as well as bentwood hat demonstrations, baidarka races in the cove, and of course rich conversation, good food and warm drinks.

  • 10am: coffee and tea, lecture and presentation in auditorium, with presentations by retired California State Parks historian Dan Murley and others
  • 12pm: Baidarka race with prizes at Sandy Beach Cove
  • 2pm: Lecture by George Dyson on baidarka building.

We are fortunate to also welcome Russia House Kedry to Fort Ross for this event, so the Spring celebration will be filled with song.

Lecture special event fee applies; $10 per person, plus California State Parks $8 per car entrance fee - please carpool! Tickets for the lecture available at the door of the Fort Ross Visitor Center, or in advance via Eventbrite.

Saturday, July 26: Fort Ross Festival

Join us once again for our annual multicultural celebration of the Kashaya, Russian, and Ranch era people who make Fort Ross unique. Featuring costumed historical re-enactments, historic crafts, militia cannon firings, world-class live music & dance, a multi-cultural food court, marketplace, children’s crafts and more, Fort Ross Festival is a wonderful celebration covering the breadth of historic Settlement Ross's multicultural community.

This year Fort Ross Festival will be a one day event. Details forthcoming, please plan on joining us!  We've got some great photos from our 2013 celebration and this year's stacking up to be just as much fun. Save the date, and if you'd like to volunteer at festival, email us.

Saturday and Sunday, August 9 & 10: Plein Air Workshop

Join us for a weekend of making art in the inspiring light of our spectacular Sonoma Coast at Fort Ross. $250 two-days, $150 one-day, including CSP entrance fee.

Email us to RSVP or ask questions!

Saturday, August 16: Celebrating Poetry at Fort Ross

This year’s theme of ”Love and Romance in Russian California” will feature contemporary and historic Ross-cultural poetry (read in Russian and English), tea & piroshki, and, following an intermission, the musical film based on the famous Russian rock opera “Yuno and Avos.” In 2013 we were fortunate to have Pulitzer prize winning poet Gary Synder and Kashaya poet Martina Morgan (pictured) join us for a standing-room only event. Email us with questions.

Saturday, October 18: Harvest Festival

Harvest is the time to enjoy the fresh air with friends and family, acknowledging all that the seasons provide us. The morning offers gentle apple picking in the historic orchard. And back by popular demand, we are partnering with the Fort Ross-Seaview Winegrowers Association to provide optional four-course lunch with wine pairing on the bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Last year's luncheon was a sell-out, so check back often for advanced tickets. We've got some wonderful photos to encourage you to mark your calendar now!.



Fort Ross Conservancy, a 501(c)(3) and California State Park cooperating association, connects people to the history and beauty of Fort Ross and Salt Point State Parks. 

© Fort Ross Conservancy, 19005 Coast Highway One, Jenner, CA 95450, 707-847-3437