Events at Fort Ross State Historic Park

California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact (707) 847-3437.
We also have one beach wheelchair available to use on the premises.

Ongoing Events:
Fort Ross Conservancy 2015 Board Meetings: February 14th (also Annual Members' Meeting), April 18th, June 13th, August 8th, October 10th, December 12th (followed by community potluck and holiday party). Most board meetings take place at Fort Ross State Historic Park but we occasionally meet in Petaluma. If you plan on attending please contact us ahead of time to verify the location of the meeting.
Fort Ross Windmill Maintenance -- Next windmill events:  April 11, 1pm
Call House tours --
Volunteers maintain the historic garden and give guided house museum tours on the first weekend of each month from 1 to 4 PM. Many of the furnishings belonged to the Call family.
Marine Mammal Monitoring

See a listing of past events

Upcoming 2015 Events

VioletMarch 28th, 10:30am:  Restoration of the St. Nicolas Holy Trinity Chapel: History and Techniques, 1812 thru 1974

Alongside the natural and cultural history stories of the place we now call Fort Ross is the history and personal stories of the construction, maintenance and restoration of the structures in the fort compound in the twentieth century. We are fortunate to have Maria Sakovich, a leading historian and independent scholar on the Chapel; Bruce Johnson, master craftsman who worked on the reconstruction; and Deva Rajan, lead contractor in the construction of the Chapel. Our presentation will start in the visitor center auditorium with a slide show and discussion from the people who contributed to the research and restoration efforts under the leadership of California State Parks, starting with the first restorations in 1916 up through the early 1970s. Leaving the auditorium, we’ll head down to the compound with our presenters, where we can see the structure and discuss the building techniques with people who had a hand in the reconstruction.

Park entrance fees apply and there will be a special event fee of $5. Contact California State Parks interpreters at for more information or call 707-847-4777.


March 28th, 10am - 2pm: Park Champions Volunteer Opportunity

Feeling the volunteer spirit? Here's another chance to do good for your public lands: Help park staff and FRC prepare beautiful Reef Campground for its Spring opening by volunteering with CSPF's Park Champions. Brush back vegetation, clean sites, and replace sections of split rail fence. A light lunch will be provided.

Free camping in a group setting for registered volunteers at nearby Salt Point State Park available on Friday & Saturday nights. Kids 12+ welcome with legal guardian, community service hours available. Register at California State Parks Foundation.

Questions? Email us at


April 4th, 1pm - 3:30pm: Fort Ross Redwoods; Save The Redwoods League Presentation and Hike

Come join Deborah Zierten, Education and Interpretation Manager for Save the Redwoods League, for a presentation on the current state of the redwoods. The coast redwood range was greatly reduced in the past 200 years due to land conversion from development and agriculture. But what are the current threats to the redwoods and how are these iconic trees responding to dramatic changes in climate? We will also learn about the historical connection between the redwoods, Fort Ross and the League. After a brief presentation, join us for an interpretive walk in the forest where we will learn what makes Fort Ross' Stanley Spyra Memorial Grove unique. Questions? Email us at


April 19th, 3:00pm: Migrating Whales Along our Coast

Join Jodi Smith, Founder and Executive Director of Naked Whale Research, for a lecture to learn more about the types of and differences between whale species found in our local waters. She will describe the basic biology of the three ecotypes of killer whale found here and the role played by volunteers in helping to identify and report killer whale sightings.

Naked Whale Research specializes in the behavioral biology of rare and endangered killer whales. Their mission is to create public awareness as to the threats of the long term survival of the Northern California killer whales frequenting Sonoma and Mendocino coastal waters. Current concerns can broadly be defined as environmental contamination, reduction in availability of prey, and both physical and acoustic human disturbances.

As part of her research Smith relies on the public to observe and report sightings. Recently the nonprofit developed a mobile iPhone application for real-time reporting of whale encounters. They have also developed a laminated field guide to killer whale behaviors for public identification purposes. Smith is currently working on a project to listen in on whale conversations through underwater microphones (or hydrophones) placed at strategic locations along the coast. Recent grant funding will allow the first hydrophone node to be placed off the Point Arena lighthouse this spring. Once in place, live underwater audio will be uploaded to the internet and anyone can hear the whales communicating through the NaWhaRe web page connection.

California State Park entrance fees apply ($8/car) and FRC is asking for a special event fee of $5 per person. Questions? Email Fort Ross Conservancy at


May 16th, 10am - 4pm: Alaska Native Day

Fort Ross Conservancy is pleased to welcome the Alaska Native community to Fort Ross to teach their arts and crafts on the land they once shared with the Native Kashia and Russian communities. The day will include:

  • Dr. Gordon L. Pullar, associate professor emeritus at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a Kodiak Island Sugpiaq (Alutiiq), will be speaking on The Russian-Alaskan Creole, Then and Now. He has an intense interest in researching the ethno-history of Kodiak Island and his own family history that includes ancestry from indigenous people of Kodiak Island as well as Russians who worked in the fur trade in Russian America,
  • Traditional Russian Orthodox blessing of the boats, followed by Iqyan (kayak) race in Sandy Cove. See 2015 race map for rules -- no plastic kayaks allowed),
  • A hands-on demonstration build of a Nigilax (baidara, or large open kayak),
  • Performances by Anchorage Unangax Dancers, led by Ethan Petticrew,
  • Kids' crafts: Face "tattooing," language games, petroglyph rock painting, Chagudax (hunter's hats), spear throwing,
  • Demonstrations—Beading, Chagudax carving,
  • All that and dried fish!

We will hold a short memorial for Alaska Native ancestors buried in the Fort Ross cemetery.

This is a new event for us and sponsorship is needed - contributions towards AND can be made at For event updates and more, please consider joining the Alaska Natives at Fort Ross Facebook group. Download our AND poster and spread the word!

See photos from last year's AND skinboat iqyax race and learn more about this fantastic partnership between Fort Ross and the diaspora Alaska Native community.

Special event fees apply: $10 collected at the Visitor Center for the presentation, children free. California State Parks entrance fees also apply. Please carpool!

Seaweed May 30th, 10:30am: Ranch Era Tea - Stories from Days Gone By
Call House tour 1pm-4pm

Over the course of 130 years, from 1842 to 1973, the land was home to the Benitz and Call families, spanning five generations. Join us as we celebrate these family members from the Ranch Era who hold cherished memories and stories from their times living, working, and playing here on this land we call Fort Ross. They will reminisce and answer questions in the setting of the Call House side porch with tea served. Park entrance fees apply and there will be a special event fee of $5 per person for the presentation and tea. Email or call 707-847-4777 for more information.


June 6th, 8:30am: Seaweed Workshop - 8:30am

Start your day early! 8:30 am low-tide foray and field work, followed by 12pm illustrated presentation at Fort Ross Visitor Center auditorium.

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. Heidi Herrmann is a farmer and owner of Strong Arm Farm in Healdsburg. Last year's event was well attended and the feedback we received encouraged us to hold this event again. The tickets are available at Eventbrite. Special event fees: $40 for the workshop foray and the lecture; $20 for the lecture only.

Cannon Firing

July 25th: Fort Ross Festival

Come celebrate the international flavors and cultures at Fort Ross Festival 2015. A family-friendly day celebrating Kashia, Alaska Native, and Russian cultures, including St Petersburg's Horn Orhestra of Russia, local food vendors and a beer garden. We've got some great photos from our 2013 celebration. Special event fee will apply.

Cannon Firing

August 23rd, 1pm - 2:30pm: Cougar Talk with Matt Nelson

I will share information on the cougar studies I’ve been working on, explaining the purpose of them as well as the day-to-day mechanics of running a scientific study on cougars -- how we catch them, an overview of GPS collars, how we gather data, and what results we've seen thus far. I’ll share some surprising and interesting findings about cougar behavior. I’ll also talk a fair bit about cougar diet, biology (size, home range, breeding, interacting, specialization, individuality, etc.). I'll explain how this animal is adapting to continual encroachment into their home ranges, living very close amongst humans yet it is hardly ever seen by humans. I’ll also share how to recognize cougar sign and tracks in the field, and why we should feel comfortable and safe in the wild lands that we share. The presentation includes lots of photos and some video highlighting interesting behaviors. Matt's website, Redwood Coast Animal Tracking, includes more information on his background and skillset.

Special event fees apply: $10 collected at the Visitor Center for the presentation, children free. California State Parks entrance fees also apply. Please carpool!

Fort Ross Festival

October 17th: Harvest Festival

Harvest is the time to enjoy autumn's fresh air with friends and family, acknowledging all that the seasons provide us. Harvest Festival starts out with a morning of gentle apple picking in the historic orchard, the celebration then moves to the historic Fort Ross compound where we'll enjoy the old-world charm of the 19th century Russian settlement. Enjoy a four-course luncheon served on a marine terrace overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Photos from Harvest Festival 2013. Special event fee will apply.

Fort Ross Windmill

November 6th: SPOOM Windmill Visit

Society for the Preservation of Old Mills  members will  have a tour of the park and will discuss the Fort Ross Windmill. 

--- Past Events - sorry you missed them! ---

1st Day hike

January 1st: Salt Point First Day Hike, 10:30 am

Step into the New Year hiking on our glorious Sonoma coast!  This year’s First Day Hike will be from Fisk Mill to Stump Beach, round-trip, in Salt Point State Park.  Meet at the far northern trailhead at Fisk Mill.  This moderate four mile, four hour hike, led by Fort Ross Conservancy's John Sperry & Tom Wright, features Sentinel Rock, bishop pine forests, ocean bluff vistas and the white sandy Stump Beach, our lunch stop. Bring hiking boots (be prepared for some moisture), binoculars, layered clothing and sack lunch. The hike is recommended for ages 10 and above and is cancelled if moderate or heavy rain.  Park entrance fees apply. Sorry, no dogs allowed. 

First Day Hike

February 14th: Fort Ross Conservancy
Members Only Annual Meeting

All Fort Ross Conservancy members in good standing are invited to join us for our annual meeting, held at the Fort Ross Visitor Center. If you would like to add an item to our agenda please contact Sarjan at sarjanh (at) fortross(dot) org or call us at 707/847-3437. We will send out an agenda at least 30 days in advance to all active FRC members.

February 21st: Pysanki Egg Decorating Workshop, 1pm - 3pm

Pysanki EggsJoin us for this FREE illustrated lecture on ancient folk art of Eastern European egg decorating, followed by a live demonstration by Lenka Glassner herself. We will have fresh goodies from Raymond’s Bakery for sale. Original, one of a kind Pysanky eggs will be available in the Fort Ross Bookshop.

‘Decorating hollowed chicken, duck or goose eggs is one of the few ancient still-surviving art forms of Eastern Europe. Styles, colors and techniques of decorating vary depending on the region. Well known Ukrainian Pysanky are made by applying bees wax on eggs in exact geometrical shapes. I use the etching technique of southern Moravia where, as a little girl, I learned the art from my mom, who learned from her mom. Even though primarily associated with Easter, decorated eggs were given year-round to communicate love and hope on special occasions as birth, death, wedding, anniversaries or graduations. I mix traditional technique of decorating eggs with my own contemporary motives. I'm proud to continue the long lived tradition of my people.’ -Lenka Glassner

This event is brought to you by Fort Ross Conservancy. Donations gratefully accepted. Standard California State Parks kiosk entrance fees apply ($8 per car.)

Plant workshop

March 1st: Edible and Medicinal Plants of Sonoma County
Classroom Lecture and Field Exploration
10am - 4pm

Although best known for its famous vineyards and the non-native Vitis vinifera (Common Grape Vine), Sonoma County also happens to be home to quite a variety of other very useful but often overlooked native plants. From the mouth of the Russian River where it empties into the Pacific Ocean eastward to the top of Mt. St. Helena (at 4344’), one can witness a stunning array of botanical specimens growing within a number of different plant communities.

Join us as we explore the trails of Fort Ross State Historic Park with Tellur Fenner, clinical herbalist/educator and owner of Blue Wind Botanical Medicine Clinic and Education Center, while we learn about the many amazing and useful plants which grow here. The tickets for this event are available at Eventbrite.

During this workshop we will explore both the common and lesser known native/naturalized plants found growing throughout the region, with a focus on historical as well as modern use. This course will engage students through a combination of classroom lecture and field exploration. Topics/activities to be covered include: botany basics taught from a plant family perspective, plant identification in the field, medicinal/edible/utilitarian uses, California ethnobotany, ethical harvesting guidelines and information about at-risk medicinal plants, safety issues and tips on how to avoid toxic/poisonous plants, medicine making basics, sampling of a variety of medicinal plant preparations, and more! Please note that harvesting on State Park property is not allowed. For more information, please contact Fort Ross Conservancy Special Events Manager Sondra Hunter at 707.847.3437

Special event fee is $45/person, plus California State Parks fee of $8/car at the kiosk. Please carpool!

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