THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF THE FARALLON ISLANDS:From Formation to Culmination
Saturday, November 15th, 2pm
Fort Ross Visitor Center Auditorium
Today the Farallon Islands stand sentinel thirty miles west of the Golden Gate, their latest stop on a two-hundred-and-fifty-one-million year journey across ancient seas and prehistoric mountains. These islands have evolved to become a vital bastion for the diverse fauna of the North Pacific, and it’s this diversity that has attracted adventurers, explorers, laborers and profiteers alike.The Farallons served as hunting grounds for ambitious fleets of Bostonians and they were Russia’s established eastern border at its zenith, during which time they brought Alaska Native hunters and the first scientific observers to the islands. Russians and later Americans decimated both the pinniped and bird populations over the decades, and later the U.S. Navy base brought in invasive species to the Island. Starting in the 1960s America began to reconsider its relationship to nature and the Farallons were among the first locations to be handed over to conservation; soon birds thought extinct returned and the first fur seals since the early nineteenth century have been born. The islands now serve as a protected wilderness.
Please join National Wildlife Refuge System Ranger Jose Garcia in a presentation and discussion about the Farallons past and its future, including photos of the Russian-era structures still visible on the island. This presentation will cover:
- Geologic formation of the Islands,
- Faunal evolution,
- First Human impacts,
- The Alaska Natives and the edge of Russian empire, and Russian administration of the Islands,
- Eminent domain or Eggers Rights, early U.S. administration of the Islands,
- Age of neglect,
- First conservation efforts, and the long road to recovery,
- The wilderness act & methods used for recovery,
- The future of the island and the North Pacific.
This event is sponsored by Fort Ross Conservancy. No special event fees required but CSP gate fees ($8/car) still apply. However, donations to Fort Ross Conservancy greatly appreciated.
October 18th, 2014
Harvest Festival 10am – 5:00pm
Fort Ross State Historic Park
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, where we’ll harvest fruit while enjoying the Eastern European harmonies of Kitka’s Women’s Ensembles and Russia House Kedry. The celebration then moves to the historic Fort Ross compound where we’ll enjoy the old-world charm of the 19th century Russian settlement.
FORT ROSS HARVEST FESTIVAL
Saturday,October 18, 2014
Schedule (Rain or shine)
Morning in the Orchard
9:15-12:30 Van Shuttle: VC-orchard-VC, (12:30-5:15: VC-fort-VC)
10-11:30 Apple Harvest in Orchard – Harvest Songs – Kedry and Kitka singing
11-11:30 Fort Ross Orchard Talk – Susan Rudy, FRC Orchard Specialist
Midday at the Windmill & Beyond
12-4 Horse & Carriage Ride (between windmill & Fort Compound)
11:45-12:15 Windmill Presentation & Turning
Hank Birnbaum and John Sperry, Fort Ross Conservancy
Rob Grassi, Bale Grist Mill
10-3 Early Day Gas Engine & Tractor Assoc. (Branch 31) – Upper parking lot
Interpreting early California Ranch Era equipment
Afternoon in the Fort Compound
12-4 Juicing, Baking, Craft Demonstrations & Children’s Activities – pumpkin carving too!
1:00 Storytelling Time – Georgia Churchill (Meet outside Fur Warehouse)
1:30 Harvest Circle Ritual, Songs, Dances & Games – Kedry & Kitka
2:15 Fort Ross History Presentation & Fur Warehouse Tour (meet at Fur Warehouse)
Robin Joy Wellman, California State Park Interpretive Specialist
Hank Birnbaum, Fort Ross Conservancy, Programs Manager
2:45 Kitka Women’s Ensemble Concert – (Chapel and then Fur Warehouse)
3:30 Cannon Presentation
Afternoon on the Ocean Terrace
11-5 Seasonal Food – Ocean Terrace – Various food vendors
12-4 Fort Ross-Seaview AVA Wine Tasting
1-3 Harvest Festival Grand Luncheon – advance tickets required
4:00 Circle Dances & Songs – Kedry
4:30 Su Nu Nu Shinal Kashia Pomo Dancers
Special Event Fees
- Harvest Special Event Fee: $20 per car (includes $8 State Parks fee).
- Special event bus fee for small capacity (24 person or fewer) bus: $100.
- Special event bus fee for large capacity (greater than 24 person) bus: $225
If you’d like to volunteer at the festival, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. – four hours of volunteering gets you free admission to the Harvest Festival.
California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact (707) 847-3437.
Questions? Email us at email@example.com, call us at 707/847-3437.
And back by popular demand, Fort Ross-Seaview Wine Tasting and Luncheon — see below.
Harvest Festival 2014, Fort Ross Conservancy
The Fort Ross-Seaview Wine Festival, in collaboration with Fort Ross Conservancy, introduces the grapegrowers, wineries and winemakers who produce and vinify the grapes grown on the steep ridges of the Sonoma Coast, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Grand luncheon (1pm-3pm, $125 per person): Enjoy a four-course luncheon served on a marine terrace overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Each course is prepared by renowned coastal chefs using locally-sourced ingredients selected from the bounty of Sonoma. Limited seating, advanced tickets only through Eventbrite.
- Entrance to Grand Wine Tent (open from 12pm – 4pm),
- Four-course meal with five specially-paired glasses of award-winning wines from the steep ridges overlooking the Sonoma Coast, and
- Entrance into Fort Ross State Historic Park, with parking
- Access to the day’s Harvest Festival entertainment.
Grand Luncheon Menu
- John Ash – Chef and James Beard Award Winning Author: Lemon Marinated Fennel Salad with Burrata, Olives and Basil
- Barbara Hom – Executive Chef Fort Ross Vineyard: Seared and Oven Roasted Chilean Sea Bass (Marine Council Stewardship Certified) with Peking Meat Sauce, Pea Shoots
- Richard Whipple – Executive Chef Sea Ranch Lodge: Roasted Stuffed Quail with Soft Polenta Cake, Mixed Cumin Scented Carrots and Huckleberries
- Marianna Gardenhire – Pastry Chef and Proprietor Backyard, Forestville: Cheesecake, Candied Pumpkin, Toasted Pepitas, and Crisp Meringue
Grand Wine Tasting (12pm-4pm, $35 per person): Presenting a remarkable selection of wines grown in the FORT ROSS-SEAVIEW VITICULTURAL AREA that consists of the steep ridge top vineyards that overlook the Pacific Ocean and produce wines of structure, balance and finesse. Advanced tickets available through Eventbrite or at the wine tent on the day of event.
Fort Ross-Seaview Winegrowers pouring at Harvest Festival 2014
- Del Dotto Cinghiale Vineyard
- Flowers Vineyard & Winery
- Fort Ross Vineyards & Winery
- Martinelli Winery
- Pahlmeyer Wayfarer Vineyards
- Siduri Wines
- Tin Barn Vineyards
- Wesmar Winery
- Wild Hog Vineyard
- Williams Selyem.
Growers Participating In The Fort Ross-Seaview Wine Festival
- Blue Slide Ridge Vineyard (Martinelli Winery) Pinot Noir
- Camp Meeting Ridge (Flowers Vineyard & Winery) Pinot Noir & Chardonnay & Pinot Meunier
- Charles Ranch Vineyard (Martinelli Winery) Chardonnay
- Cinghiale Vineyard (Del Dotto Vineyards) Pinot Noir & Chardonnay & Sauvignon Blanc
- Coryelle Fields Vineyards (Tin Barn Vineyards) Syrah
- Fort Ross Vineyard (Fort Ross Vineyard) Pinot Noir & Chardonnay & Pinotage
- Hellenthal Vineyard (Hellenthal) Pinot Noir
- Precious Mountain Vineyard (Donnie Schatzburg) Pinot Noir
- Seaview Ridge (Flowers Vineyard & Winery) Pinot Noir & Chardonnay
- Three Sisters Vineyard (Martinelli Winery) Pinot Noir & Chardonnay
- Wayfarer Vineyard (Pahlmeyer Vineyards) Pinot Noir & Chardonnay
- Wild Hog Vineyard (Wild Hog Vineyard) Pinot Noir & Chardonnay
- Wild Thyme Vineyard (Martinelli Winery) Pinot Noir.
FORT ROSS-SEAVIEW WINEGROWERS ASSOCIATION is an association of local grape growers and wineries dedicated to farming “coastal cool” grapes on the very edge of the continent. Here the vineyards are like islands in the sunshine above a sea of coastal fog that nips at their edges during the long, slow and temperate grape growing season. The maritime climate of the area is ideal for growing winegrapes of the highest caliber. The vineyards here produce pure, focused fruit with lively acidity, minerality and nunaced tannins. These exceptional grapes produce internationally acclaimed wines of balance, character, structure and finesse that tempt the palate with their elegance. See www.fortross-seaview.org or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the program we have contemporary and historic poetry and passages (in Russian, English & Spanish):
Russian-Spanish love story of early 19th century San Francisco Presidio, (as told by Bret Harte, Andrey Voznesensky, George Langsdorff and Nikolay Rezanov); “Romantic” side of life at Fort Ross & San Francisco (as reflected in letters and reports of Karl Schmidt, Dmitry Zavalishin, Russian America officials and foreign visitors); Love verses of Native Californians of Metini & Bodega Bay (as described by P. Kostromitinov); Poems of Fort Ross/Metini: Alexander Rotchev (19th c.) and Martina Morgan (contemporary).
Join Poetry Circle – Share your favorite love poems.
Please Email email@example.com for further questions.
Saturday, July 26: Fort Ross Festival
Come celebrate the international flavors and cultures at Fort Ross Festival 2014. This year’s event will highlight the Kashaya, Russian, Alaska Native, and California ranch era people who have called Fort Ross home over the centuries. We’ll offer costumed historical vignettes, hands-on crafts, militia cannon firings, music & dance from numerous cultures, an international food bazaar — and our first-ever beer garden!
Join us at our International Food Bazaar in the historic Call Picnic area where you can choose from a wonderful variety of local vendors, from slow smoked BBQ with fresh coleslaw from BBQ Smokehouse Bistro & Catering, both Californian & European style crepes filled with sweet or savory options from Ultra Crepes, artisan bakery Piroshki and pastries from Raymond’s Bakery, traditional Kashia fry breads, traditional Russian Borscht and both vegetarian and meat Piroshki from Red Tavern, or if you have a sweet tooth, choose one of the many absolutely incredible flavors of homemade, small batch ice cream from Nimble & Finn’s. For a refreshing and healthful treat, have a serving of Juice Runners Red, Gold & Green veggie/fruit juice mixes. And for the first time, a taste of India from Curry Sensations — try their Punjabi Style Burritos, Chicken or Butternut Squash Curry Rice plates, or Fried Fish Pakora.
The day offers plenty of family-friendly activities:
- Clip-clop down old Highway One on a traditional horse and carriage with Stone Horse Carriage
- Try your hand at historic crafts like basket-making, rope making, felting, spinning
- Enjoy the live farm animals
- Hear the Kashia describing their language and use of native plants
- Learn how Alaska Native bentwood hats are made
- Storytelling and historic interpretive talks available throughout the day
- Watch the historic militia run through its paces
- Enjoy Russian House Kedry perform traditional song and Russian crafts
- Hear Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble‘s seasonal ethnic songs
Schedule (subject to change)
Activities Throughout the Day
- 10am to 5pm Marketplace Local vendors selling their wares across from the Call Picnic Area and inside the Fort Compound
- 10am to 6:30pm Fort Ross Conservancy Bookshop in the Visitor Center — open all day, offers great Fort Ross items for sale
- 11am to 4pm Fort Ross Video describing the history of the Russian, Alaska Native, and Kashaya eras (Visitor Center Auditorium)
- 10am to 12pm & 1pm to 4pm Historic crafts Create your own rope, candle, or basket (Fort compound)
- 11am to 5pm International Food Bazaar (Call Picnic Area)
- 12pm to 5pm Beer Garden (Call Picnic Area), also serving coffee & tea
- 12:30pm to 4:30pm Horse and Carriage ride (free!) on historic Hwy 1 between Visitor Center parking lot and Fort Compound
- 1pm to 4pm Ranch-era Call House peeks and piques Fort Ross Video
- 10:00 Russian Orthodox Liturgy, San Francisco’s St. Nicholas Cathedral (Fort Ross Chapel)
- 10:00 to 12pm Historic Crafts (Fort Compound)
- 11:00 Fort Ross History Interpretive Talk (Magasin inside Fort Compound)
- 11:30 Storytelling (Water well, inside Fort Compound)
- 12:00 Russian Orthodox Procession to the cove and cemetery
- 12:15 Militia drill and cannon firing (Fort Compound)
- 1:00 to 4pm Historic Crafts (Fort Compound)
- 1:00 Russian House Kedry and Kitka Womens’ Ensemble performing traditional Russian song and dance (Fort Compound)
- 1:45 Fort Ross History Interpretive Talk (Magasin inside Fort Compound)
- 1:45 Storytelling (Water well, inside Fort Compound)
- 2:15 Kitka Womens’ Ensemble (This is their “big” performance for the day, near Fort Ross Chapel)
- 3:15 Militia drill and cannon firing (Fort Compound)
- 4:15 Russian House Kedry Russian song and dance (Rotchev House, inside Fort Compound)
- 5:00 Su Nu Nu Shinal Kashia dancers (marine terrace outside fort compound)
Fort Ross Festival 2014 will be a one day event with all performances in and around the compound.
$20 per car (includes $8 State Parks fee).
Special event bus fee for small capacity (24 person or fewer) bus: $100.
Special event bus fee for large capacity (greater than 24 person) bus: $225
Food and drink purchased separately.
Questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us at 707/847-3437.
If you’d like to volunteer at the festival, email us at email@example.com. – four hours of volunteering gets you free admission to the event.
California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact (707) 847-3437.
We’ve got some great photos from our 2013 celebration and this year’s stacking up to be just as much fun.
Saturday, June 21st, 10am – 6pm: Sakha Cultural Festival
On June 21st, Fort Ross Conservancy and Fort Ross State Historic Park are pleased to welcome the visiting Sakha Siberian delegation to Fort Ross. They are visiting Northern California from June 18th through June 22nd as part of the Sakha Cultural Festival sponsored by the Gualala Arts Center and Gualala Point Regional Park.
Please see the Gualala Arts Center for complete details of the Sakha Cultural Festival.
Of the promyshleniki and laborers who came to Fort Ross in the early 19th century, many were of the Sakha-Yakut culture from the northeast part of Russia and Siberia. Several descendants of those 19th century laborers and craftsmen attended our special Fort Ross
Bicentennial Weekend, and during that time they carved ceremonial totems that were later erected at Gualala Center for the Arts and Timber Cove Inn. In June they are returning, this time hosted by the Gualala Regional Park, Gualala Center for the Arts, and Fort Ross Conservancy.
June 21st Fort Ross Schedule
10am to 3pm, Lectures in the Fort Ross Visitor Center Auditorium
- 10am: Indigenous Peoples, Identity, History & Post-Colonialism, chaired by Aleksey Istomin of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences St. Petersburg and leading Russian scholar of Russian-California: a panel discussion with distinguished Sakha, Russian and American scholars.
- 12pm: Lunch (Lunch is provided to speakers and international guests only. Visitors attending the lecture should bring a lunch.)
- 1pm: Spirituality and Cultural Revitalization, a panel discussion with distinguished Russian and American scholars.
3pm Traditional Sakha Crafts and Culture in the fort compound:
- Wood workers Egorov and Ksenofontov will provide a master class on how to make people and animal figures, decorative items for home like candlesticks, trim for doors and windows and other items from the wood pieces.
- Svetlana Petrova will provide a master class on sewing Chepparak (horse saddle’s cloth) and making toys from fur and cloth.
- Galina Fedorova will conduct a master class on teaching how to play on the khomus (jaw harp). The group will bring several khomuses for “students” to try.
4:30-6pm pm Live acoustic performance of Sakha folklore music and dance
Saturday, June 7th, 10am – 6pm: Big Time
Join the Kashia and many neighboring tribes from throughout Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma counties for a day of dance and celebration at Fort Ross.
Questions? Call Billyrene at 707-326-0595.
Special event fee applies: $15 per car.
Saturday, May 17: 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 Alaska Native Day. Join us for this tribute to the Alaska Natives highlighting their enormous importance on our coast from 1812 to 1842. A full day – with iqyan (baidarka/kayak) race, illustrated presentations, special guests from Alaska, cultural interpretation, food, and general fun for all.
Looking for our lovely May 17th Alaska Day event poster?
- 10am: coffee and tea, welcome and introductions
- 10:30am: Chagudax (bentwood hat) Presentation by Okalena Patricia Lekanoff-Gregory from Unalaska
- 11am: Alaska Natives at Ross, illustrated presentation by Dan Murley & Sandra Hollimon
- 12:15pm: Guided walk to the bluff and Sandy Cove
- 1pm: Iqyan race – Sandy Beach Cove & bluff (skin boats only! Race map and race waiver available for advanced viewing)
- 1:45pm: Lunch in Fort Compound (RSVP by May 13th via Eventbrite OR bring your own) Lunchtime “Spring Celebration” with our dear friends from Russian House Kedry!
- 2:30pm: The Baidarka (Iqyax), illustrated presentation on baidarka building by George Dyson (Visitor Center Auditorium) .
- 4pm: Reception in Visitor Center
- 4:30pm: Volunteer Appreciation Event and Potluck Dinner in Fort Ross Compound.
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.
Boxed lunch, $15 per person, available ONLY if you pre-pay for lunch through Eventbrite. Or of course bring your own picnic. No food vendors will be available at the park.
We would like to thank Aleut Corporation and Agnes Larsen Darnell Scholarship for sponsoring our inaugural Alaska Native Day at Fort Ross and Aleut Pribilof Island Association for their contributions.
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, 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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org or (707) 847-3437.
Saturday, March 22: Salt Point Park Champions Work Day
In partnership with California State Parks Foundation and their wonderful Park Champions program, we have scheduled four volunteer work days. All skill levels welcome, as we’ll have a variety of chores to work on.
Volunteering provides a great way to meet new people, fulfill community service hours, and get outside to enjoy our public lands. Sign-up will be available from the CSPF website shortly, or email us with questions.
Our first work day will be at Salt Point Park, where we’ll prepare Woodside Campground and associated trails for another season of happy campers. Work the day (10am-3pm) and get free camping in the group camp setting.
- March 22: Salt Point Volunteer Work Day
- June 28: Fort Ross Volunteer Work Day
- September 6 Salt Point Volunteer Work Day
- October 11: Fort Ross Volunteer Work Day
Saturday, March 8, 2014, 3pm: From the First Beginning, When the Animals Were Talking
Peter Kalifornsky on the iPad. Peter Kalifornsky (1911-1993), member of the Kenaitze Indian Tribe, was the last speaker of his language and the great-great-grandson of Qadanalchen, chief of Kalifornsky Village, who received his surname after his time and labors in early 19th century California and Fort Ross. Join Katherine McNamara, author and iBooks producer, as she shares Peter Kalifornsky’s story as a just released multi-touch book for iPad and Mac.
Free presentation brought to you by Fort Ross Conservancy; donations appreciated! Presentation will take place at the Fort Ross State Historic Park Visitor Center Auditorium. California State Park entrance fees apply.
Sunday, March 2, 1:00- 3:00 PM Marine Mammal Monitoring at Fort Ross – Volunteer Training
Fort Ross State Historic Park – Visitor Center Auditorium. Please join us to learn about Fort Ross Conservancy’s ongoing volunteer “citizen scientist” monitoring of the Steller Sea Lions and Harbor Seals at Fort Ross State Historic Park.
In addition to learning what’s required to participate in our volunteer marine mammal monitoring program, the training will also include an informative illustrated pinniped identification presentation offered by Dr. Joe Mortenson, co-author of Field Guide to Marine Mammals of the Pacific Coast, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Jamie Hall (of the Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association), both of whom have been conducting fieldwork on the Sonoma coast since the late 1990’s. Sponsored by Fort Ross Conservancy; training event is free to the public. California State Park entrance fees apply. For more information contact Hank Birnbaum, email@example.com
Saturday, January 18, 2014, 12:00pm – 4:30pm
KOLYADKI – Winter Celebration
Kolyadki visiting, singing door to door carols, blessings, dances and games with Kedry. State Parks day use fees apply: $8 per car/ $7 per vehicle with seniors. Dogs are only allowed in the upper parking lot.
January 1, 2014, 10 AM
Start your new year on the right foot – join us for a first day hike! Meet at the Fort Ross State Historic Park parking lot. Three-hour, 3-4 mile loop forest and ocean bluff hike. Bring sack lunch, appropriate shoes (be prepared for some moisture), binoculars, layered clothing. Park entrance fees apply. Sorry, no dogs allowed. Contact Hank Birnbaum at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (707) 847-3437.