Fort Ross State Historic Park
The reconstructed chapel of Fort Ross
Map showing the location of Fort Ross State Historic Park
Map showing the location of Fort Ross State Historic Park
Map showing the location of Fort Ross State Historic Park
Map showing the location of Fort Ross State Historic Park
LocationSonoma County, California, United States
Nearest cityJenner, California
Coordinates38°30′51″N 123°14′34″W / 38.51417°N 123.24278°W / 38.51417; -123.24278
Area3,393 acres (1,373 ha)
Governing bodyCalifornia Department of Parks and Recreation

Fort Ross State Historic Park is a historical state park in Sonoma County, California, including the former Russian fur trading outpost of Fort Ross plus the adjacent coastline and native coast redwood forests extending inland. It is located on the northern California coast about 12 miles north of the town of Jenner and 22 miles north of Bodega Bay. Fort Ross, active from 1812 to 1842, was the southernmost settlement in the Russian colonization of the Americas.[1] The 3,393-acre (1,373 ha) park was established in 1909.[2] The site is a Sonoma County Historic Landmark.[3]

Fort Ross

Main article: Fort Ross, California

Fort Ross was founded by the Russian-American Company in 1812. Most of the Fort's buildings are reproductions. The one original structure remaining from the Russian settlement, the commander's house, is a National Historic Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places. The California Department of Parks and Recreation as well as many volunteers put extensive efforts into restoration and reconstruction work in the Fort.

In addition to fishing, hiking, surfing, exploring tide pools, picnicking, whale watching, and bird watching, Fort Ross State Historic Park has become a popular destination for Scuba Diving, some of whom visit Fort Ross Reef. The wreckage of the SS Pomona[4] lies just offshore Fort Ross State Park.


The name Ross is a poetic name for 'Russian.' It was selected from lots placed at the base of an image of Christ bestowed on the settlement when it was dedicated on September 11, 1812. The Spanish sometimes called it Presidio Ruso or Presidio de Bodega.[5]

Access and closures

In 2009 the park was under the risk of being closed due to state budget cuts. Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak petitioned in favor of the park, but Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger promised nothing.[1] On June 22, 2010, a memorandum of understanding between the Renova Group of Companies and the State of California, and between Renova Group and Fort Ross Conservancy (then the Fort Ross Interpretive Association) was signed in San Francisco in the presence of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev "to affirm a partnership to support and promote the preservation of California's Fort Ross State Historic Park, and to raise awareness of its historical and cultural significance."[6][7] The threatened park closures were ultimately avoided by cutting hours and maintenance system-wide.[8]

See also


  1. ^ a b Lin, Judy (September 12, 2009). "A symbol of Russian history at risk in California". Retrieved December 30, 2011.
  2. ^ California State Park System Statistical Report: Fiscal Year 2009/10 (PDF) (Report). California State Parks. p. 28. Retrieved December 30, 2011.
  3. ^ "Fort Ross State Park Complex". County of Sonoma. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  4. ^ "SS-Pomona". Retrieved December 31, 2022.
  5. ^ Gudde, Erwin G. (1998). California place names : the origin and etymology of current geographical names (4th ed., rev. and enl. ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 136. ISBN 0520213165.
  6. ^ "Встреча с губернатором штата Калифорния Арнольдом Шварценеггером" (Press release). June 23, 2010. Retrieved December 30, 2011.
  7. ^ "PD EDITORIAL: Gift preserves Fort Ross, renews county connection with Russia". The Press Democrat. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  8. ^ McGreevy, Patrick; Sahagun, Louis (September 26, 2009). "State parks to stay open, but with cuts in hours, staffing". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, Calif. Retrieved December 30, 2011.