New Entrance Welcome Panel -2015
Through a generous grant from REI, the Foundation has created a new entrance panels for Portola Redwoods and Castle Rock State Park. The new panels introduce visitors to the natural feature of the park and also includes a number of suggested hikes, graded by hiker ability , which explore different aspects of the park. This part of a larger project to bring more information to park visitors.
From 1943 to 2011, Park visitors extensively used a Ramada structure, located adjacent to the Campfire Center and surrounded by second-growth Redwoods. The Ramada has been the site of many family and group events such as weddings and family reunions, and as an inclement weather shelter for multiple generations. The Ramada may be reserved by groups for special events, is available for general picnicking use and also provides a meeting and project area for the Jr. Ranger interpretive program.
Working with Donor partners Peninsula Open Space Trust and Save The Redwoods League, the Foundation is working to build a replacement structure to maintain the look and feel of the original structure. The old structure was demolished in 2014 and after a lengthy iteration in of the construction package, work started inn early April, 2016 and is planned for completion In August.
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For many visitors to State Parks, the memories of a campfire program led by an Interpetive Specialist, perhaps serving S’mores, last a lifetime and help form family bonds with California and our natural resources. Campfires allow Parks to achieve their educational objectives while visitors enjoy the campfire.
The existing Campfire Center at Portola Redwoods State Park, built in 1957, is located in a beautiful Redwood grove adjacent to the campground, the Ramada site, and the Point group campground. While the Redwood seating may be used for a few more years the stage area and the audio visual equipment and lighting have come to the end of their useful lives.
Donors and Parks plan to replace to replace the stage area, audio visual equipment and lighting as the first phase of a project which will eventually include upgrades for accessibility and replace the aging Redwood seating. Near term the audio-visual equipment will be upgraded.
Visitor Center and Interpretive Displays
The Islam Shrine, part of the Masonic Order, built a rustic recreation hall on this site in 1940, and when the property passed to the State of California it became the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is the focus of much park activity – Park Staff collect fees and with the help of volunteers, provide camping and hiking information and sell Park-specific educational materials and camping supplies. The Sequoia Nature Trail begins at the rear of the Visitor Center.
The Visitor Center also contains a significant interpretive display area focused on the history of the community from Redwood logging to today’s Park and the ecosystem of the Redwood forest and associated wildlife. The center retains a high degree of historical integrity.
The interpretive displays, however, are on average more than 25 years old and are not consistent with current interpretive practice.
We intend to redesign the interpretive displays consistent with best practices employed in other State Parks. In addition we wish to restore and refurbish the Visitor Center interior to its authentic prewar style including Redwood shake roof.