Discovering Russian History on the California Coast
"Many people don't know that Russians actually settled just two hours north of San Francisco," says Sarah Sweedler, president and CEO of the Fort Ross Conservancy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the 200-year heritage of the southernmost North American Russian settlement and promoting U.S.-Russian dialogue. Decades after the Russians withdrew, Fort Ross was acquired by the state in 1906. Today, it offers interpretive and education activities about the natural and cultural history of the State Historic Park. A part of the California Coastal Trail runs along the Fort, which is an important link to its coastal neighbors, as Sweedler adds: "Fort Ross is an important stop along the trail but it is just one stop along a very beautiful and important ecosystem."