Russian Gulch, Mendocino Coast

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Russian Gulch is a ravine located in Russian Gulch State Park, in coastal Mendocino County, California, two miles north of Mendocino and seven miles south of Fort Bragg. The name was given to the area by U.S. government surveyors in honor of the Russian fur trappers who founded Fort Ross 50 miles (81 km) to the south. 

In the late 19th century there were hundreds of small rural sawmills on the West Coast of the U.S. between Central California and Southern Oregon. Ports like Russian Gulch were commonly called dog holes because they were barely big enough for a dog to turn around. Coastal schooners would make dangerous stops in the cove to take on redwood lumber and passengers. Iron rings can still be found bolted to the headland that were used to hold mooring lines and move lumber when these ships were being loaded.

A mill made redwood shingles on what is now the site of the State Park recreation hall. Russian Gulch is crossed by California State Highway 1, that passes over the ravine on the Frederick W. Panhorst Bridge, a large concrete arch bridge constructed in 1940. Read more here and here. Click here to explore Russian Gulch and the State Park.


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