Sunday, September 13, 2009

A symbol of Russian history at risk in California

FORT ROSS, Calif. – Nearly two centuries ago, Russian colonists selected a patch of sloping grassland along California's rugged North Coast for a new settlement. It was from this spot about 80 miles north of San Francisco that they hoped to harvest Redwoods, grow crops and hunt seals for the lucrative fur trade.

Today, Russian Americans throughout Northern California honor their past by visiting Fort Ross Historic State Park. Hundreds drive up a winding coastal highway to picnic at the park on holidays, and priests still hold occasional services inside the fort's reconstructed Russian Orthodox church.

But the colonial outpost that claims to have established California's first shipyard and windmill is very much at risk of being abandoned by its current caretaker. Fort Ross is among 100 of California's 279 state parks that officials are considering shutting down.
____________________________________________

I visited the reconstructed fort years ago and was blown away by the setting. Really a shame to hear this site in danger of being closed down, not just because of its value to Russian Americans.

12 comments:

  1. "The governor initially proposed closing up to 220 state parks.... Among those at-risk are Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay, Will Rogers' Southern California ranch and Humboldt Redwoods State Park, which boasts the world's tallest tree at 370 feet. Even the Governor's Mansion in Sacramento was on the initial cut list."

    More of Bush's legacy. Even the governor of California is being foreclosed on.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well as far as I know it's a Temporary thing but even that is sad.Emerald Bay I assume means the mansion "Vikingsholm" and the Will Rogers state park is really cool but not very large.It's mostly famous for the Rogers "cabin" which is very nice rustic and the polo grounds where matches are held weekends part of the year.If you walk to the ocean though on the trails there one can see how very very much money the land that the Rogers family donated to the state is worth today.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Alot of state parks have suffered since the "Reagan Revolution." I remember when I was in New Mexico and Arizona. Many of the state parks were charging entrance fees, which one ranger noted worked against the parks. He said they made more before in donations in the glass boxes than they did off entrance fees, which were discouraging visitors. All part of that great self-sufficent economy the Reaganites imagined. Parks should pay for themselves. So, now here is California proposing to slash up to half their state parks from the budget, which will result in them deteriorating and requiring much more work down the line to bring them back into shape than would sticking to a simple maintenance program. This is especially true for wood structures like Fort Ross. But, I guess it is hard times for state budgets.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The photo doesn't show on my screen. When I clicked on the box, it took me to a "forbidden" page.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sorry about that. I will see if I can find a more accessible image.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks, Marti. I thought it was just me.....

    ReplyDelete
  7. Seems like the nicer pix of Fort Ross are copyright protected, although the first photo was appearing on my screen so I thought everything was fine. But, this second one now draws a blank. At first you don't succeed, try, try again ...

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is an NPS photo. It should work.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Just saw the photo-- nice scene.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Interesting follow up to the Gubernator's plan to close down 100 state parks,

    "California taxpayers could be on the hook for millions of dollars in damages if the Schwarzenegger administration moves ahead with plans to close as many as 100 state parks, according to an internal memo drafted by the state parks department's attorneys.

    "It is likely that state parks would be liable for breach of contract" with the 188 agreements the state has signed with private companies that provide concession services, from restaurants to boat rentals to gift shops in parks, the memo concluded.

    Those concessions generated $89 million in gross sales last year.

    Further, if people enter closed parks and are injured or start fires, the state "can be held responsible for dangerous conditions," the attorneys added, even if the parkgoers were trespassing."

    http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_13361538?source=yahooNewsML

    ReplyDelete
  11. Interestingly, this story was on the "front page" this evening:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/26/us/26parks.html

    ReplyDelete