Come explore the protected marine preserve at Fort Ross Cove, or bring your binoculars to view Sea Lion Rocks just offshore north of the Visitor Center, a popular haulout for California and Steller Sea Lions. To learn more about marine activities and programming at Fort Ross, check out the links below.
Fort Ross Conservancy offers one-day or overnight Marine Ecology Programs for elementary, middle, high school, and undergraduate students.
Situated on a pristine stretch of Sonoma County coastline, Fort Ross and Salt Point State parks boast abundant marine mammals, rocky intertidal zones, sandy beaches, and waters now protected by Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Fort Ross also has significant cultural history, with its historic buildings and exhibits telling the story of 19th century seafaring and fur trading. At Fort Ross we witness the human impact of resource exploitation and its subsequent intermittent recovery. This intersection of natural and cultural history helps to teach ocean stewardship and resource management through the long lens of history.
California and Steller Sea Lions, harbor seals — learn how to identify the many marine mammals that haul out at Fort Ross. Also consider joining our citizen science project: we walk the bluffs several times a month to count the marine mammals, and we capture and share this data on our database to better study the population shifts. We are always looking for volunteers, and it is truly a great way to learn how to identify and study these marvelous creatures.
Public lands and outdoor learning experiences should be available to all, irrespective of the cost, and FRC aims to minimize the financial challenges that keep kids from taking important field trips. Thanks to the generous support from our donors we have created the Fort Ross Education Fund to offer program fee waivers and/or transportation subsidies to schools that would otherwise be unable to participate. We welcome teachers of all schools to apply!
Fort Ross Conservancy has created an iNaturalist Project called Rocky Intertidal Species of Fort Ross where we will continuously collect data on all our wonderful species that live in the Intertidal zone here at Fort Ross State Historic park. Fort Ross boasts great low-tide tidepooling as well as sandy shore environments. Consider a trek to our magnificent shoreline, but first check out a tide chart and the daily ocean conditions to make sure it’s safe to be out on the coast. Please be gentle with all creatures you find–don’t remove them from their natural placement, and be watchful of where you step.
iNaturalist is where you can record what you see in nature, meet other nature lovers, and learn about the natural world. From hikers to hunters, birders to beach-combers, the world is filled with naturalists, and many of us record what we find. What if all those observations could be shared online? You might discover someone who finds beautiful wildflowers at your favorite birding spot, or learn about the birds you see on the way to work. If enough people recorded their observations, it would be like a living record of life on Earth that scientists and land managers could use to monitor changes in biodiversity, and that anyone could use to learn more about nature. Join iNaturalist today and add your rocky intertidal species finds to our project!
In March of 2015 the Obama Administration expanded the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary to include the Sonoma Coast, including both Fort Ross and Salt Point parks. See a map of the new marine sanctuary and read more about what this new status means for our coastline.