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.
First Saturdays at Fort Ross – While every day at Fort Ross is special, on the first Saturday of each month we offer extra interpretation and more reasons to come visit: a Russian windmill demonstration, Call House Museum tours, and the Fort Ross Talk & Tea! Reserve your spot for Talk & Tea here. See details below.
Upcoming Marine Mammal Monitoring Events:
Harbor Seal Surveys: Assist us with our citizen scientist effort monitoring the harbor seals that haul out along our coast. Contact Song Hunter at email@example.com for survey dates.
Steller Sea Lion Surveys: Contact Charon Vilnai at firstname.lastname@example.org for survey dates.
Fort Ross First Saturdays!
First Saturdays in 2020: February 1st, March 7th, April 4th, May 2nd, June 6th, July 4th, August 1st, September 5th, October 3rd, November 7th, December 5th.
Windmill Turning – 12:00 p.m.
Our experienced windmill docents will turn the mill into the wind, explain its unique construction, and share with you how the two mills were used during the Russian era. Windmill talk and demonstration takes place only on the first Saturday of each month.
Free with park entrance; donations appreciated!
Call House Tours – 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Take a guided tour through the Call House Museum and learn about early-California life on the farm during the American Ranch period. You’ll see how hand-crank telephones work and how the square grand piano found its way from Boston to rural Sonoma coast. The Call House is open both Saturday and Sunday on the first weekend of the month from 1pm to 4pm.
Free with park entrance; donations appreciated!
Fort Ross Compound Walking Tour and Tea with Samovar – 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Enjoy the traditions of Old Russia at Russian Center in San Francisco!
Food, Music, Dancing, Vodka Tasting, Russian Treats & Sweets, Kids’ Crafts, Face Painting & Games, Art Gallery, Museum of Russian Culture. Please see the Russian Center website for more information.
Earth Day & Spring Celebration – Saturday, April 25
Celebrate and honor Spring and Earth Day by volunteering with Fort Ross Conservancy staff and Sonoma State University students as we tackle invasive species removal on the coast bluffs. Learn from the experts about our ocean ecology. Enjoy traditional folk songs with Russian House Kedry and Kitka Women’s Ensemble and guest speakers. End the day with a fabulous Fort Ross Tour and Tea!
Alaska Native Day becomes Biennial
Beginning this year, AND will be an odd-year event opposite Celebration. Celebration is a four-day even-year festival in Juneau to honor Alaska Native culture. This year, tribes from all over Alaska will fly, dance, and paddle into Juneau to perform ceremony from June 10-14, 2020. Follow Celebration at https://www.sealaskaheritage.org/institute/celebration.
Alaska Native Day at Fort Ross will resume on May 15, 2021 and will continue every other year. The Alaskans will be at Fort Ross Festival in July to represent our history at the fort. Join us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/673196519411277/ to share Alaska Native culture and history at Metini/Ross and beyond.
Snapshot Cal Coast – Fort Ross State Historic Park BioBlitz –
Sunday, June 7, 8:45 am
Get your cameras and smartphones ready! Join Fort Ross Conservancy as we come together for the statewide movement led by The California Academy of Sciences to get out to the coast, search for as many creatures as we can find, and share the photos of our discoveries on the website and app, iNaturalist.
We will meet at Fort Ross State Historic Park at 8:45 a.m. to witness as much of the – 1.4 tide at 6:52 a.m. as possible.
Free camping will be available at Salt Point to those who Register Here, so bring your tents, sleeping bags, meals, and s’mores ingredients! We will be camping in groups, first 24 to register only will camp for free.
What to bring – Your smart device or camera, rain boots or other shoes OK with getting wet, warm layers, sun hat, sunscreen, lunch, snacks, water.
Snapshot Cal Coast is a California statewide effort to document our coastal biodiversity and hold a series of BioBlitzes up and down the California Coast, focusing on intertidal zones in marine protected areas (MPAs). We will be working together with the MPA Collaborative Network and other partners to create a “snapshot” in time of where species are located along our coast.
Contact Director of Programs Song K Hunter for more info at email@example.com
What is a BioBlitz?
BioBlitzes bring people together to document biodiversity in one place at one time, recording observations of plants and animals using smartphones or digital cameras and uploading results to the biodiversity recording and social networking platform iNaturalist (www.inaturalist.org). These events connect people of all backgrounds to the outdoors, inspire everyone to protect biodiversity, and at the same time generate invaluable data.
Working together, we can learn a lot more about our coast. We are off to a pretty good start here in the Golden State– click here to explore all of the observations made with iNaturalist along the entire California coast over the past nine years. In a typical grassroots, one-day BioBlitz, together with ~50 volunteers, we make 1500 observations of about 250 species in 3-4 hours. So, over these two weeks in June, we could add 14,000 observations, and generate a coast-wide snapshot of California Coastal biodiversity.
We have never attempted a coordinated BioBlitz on this scale with specific questions in mind. This series of coastal BioBlitzes and individual observations will:
- Gather data critical to understanding and managing marine species
- Build awareness of the biodiversity of the California coast and the MPA Collaborative Network
- Bring together local community in support of marine stewardship
- Recruit new volunteers
- Be really fun
Together we will increase knowledge of California’s ocean and coastal habitats and their wildlife populations. We will foster collaborations among state and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, and tribes, and engage a broad range of California’s communities in activities that promote coastal conservation and connect us to nature and each other. This series of events will also work to build and expand our community of citizen scientists and stewards who can collectively advance scientific research and protection of California’s marine resources. The resulting data will be invaluable to managers and scientists for determining long-term trends, and we will be the first to use tools such as iNaturalist to monitor California’s MPAs at the same moment in time.
Event brought to you by Fort Ross Conservancy in partnership with California State Parks and The California Academy of Sciences
Fort Ross Festival – Saturday, July 25
Looking for the perfect way to celebrate Summer in Sonoma County? Join us on July 25th for Fort Ross Festival! Where else can you witness Kashia Pomo ceremonial dancing, listen to folk, gypsy and bluegrass music, learn from Alaska Native craftspeople, and take in traditional Russian performances, all together on the most beautiful stretch of the Sonoma coast? Grab a pint from our Beer Garden and enjoy an amazing day celebrating different cultures. In addition, with fantastic support from California State Parks, we will have cannon firings and militia demonstration!
We will be holding our third Borsch Cook-Off! If you have a recipe you’d like to share, bring a pot of borscht and see how your borscht compares to others in the competition and win some prizes!
Harvest Festival – Saturday, October 10
Harvest is the time to enjoy autumn’s fresh air with friends and family, acknowledging all that the seasons provide us. Please join us! Harvest Festival is a free event. Please park at the main parking lot and take the shuttle to the orchard. Regular State Parks kiosk fees of $8/car apply.
There will not be food vendors at the park–please bring a picnic.
Community Holiday Potluck – Saturday, December 12
12 – 3 pm
Fort Ross Auditorium
The most exciting time of the year to see the wild beauty of the Sonoma Coast is mid winter, as the waves boom to shore, the dark clouds roil out over the Pacific Ocean and (thanks to our November rains) the first wildflowers begin to peep up. Even when t
he sky is moody and gray the ocean is alive. What better way to begin the year than a bracing hike right at the water’s edge and then safely view the heavy breakers rolling in.
We will meet at the large day use parking area at Gerstle Cove (restrooms available) at 10:30 am. This is a mostly level easy hike on marine terraces north all the way to Stump Beach, which is 1.2 miles each way (with optional carpool return shuttle). We will pass by the tafoni honeycomb geologic sandstone formations Salt Point State Park is famous for and stop briefly by an arched rock. If the weather permits we have the added option to descend a narrow steep trail to Stump Beach and enjoy our bag lunches perched on driftwood logs at the sandy beach and then hike up a steep draw and through the woods (and up and over some downed trees) to a scenic overlook plus perhaps see the waterfalls at nearby Phillip’s Gulch Creek. Plan for 3 hours round trip and a bit longer if we are able to ford Miller Creek at Stump Beach and continue north.
Please bring your own water, a bag lunch, layered clothing, sunscreen, headwear, hiking boots (be prepared for some possible brisk wind and seaside moisture) and if desired, optional hiking sticks, binoculars, and camera. Not recommended for kids under eight and – sorry – no dogs are permitted on Salt Point State Park trails, or on the beach. Hike co-leaders are California State Park’s Susanna Barlow and Fort Ross Conservancy’s Hank Birnbaum. California State Park parking fees apply. Salt Point State Park brochure & map link. Pair this hike with a 2:30pm Fort Ross Guided Tour & Tea. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 707-847-3437. For rain cancellation info, please email or call (707) 321-5783. Limited cell phone and wifi reception on the north Sonoma Coast.
First Day Fort Ross Guided Tour & Tea
Wednesday, January 1
Fort Ross State Historic Park
Learn the inside stories of Fort Ross, featuring a guided tour through the fort compound, behind locked doors, including an introduction to surrounding neighborhoods and the Kashia Pomo, Russian and Ranch eras. Following our hour-long tour, let’s sit down at the samovar for a cup of hot tea before you hit the road. Meet at 2:30pm at the Fort Ross Visitor Center. $10/person plus California State Park parking fees apply. Tour led by Fort Ross Conservancy’s bilingual (English and/or Russian) guide Hank Birnbaum. Pair this tour with a morning Salt Point First Day Hike. Email email@example.com or call (707) 847-3437.