Index to Historic and Archaeological Resources

Index to Historic and Archaeological Resources
For the Park Units and Major Properties Associated with the
California State Park System

by Kelly Long
Associate State Archaeologist

Example of Southern Sierra Rock Art. Concentric Circles from Exeter Rocky Hill. Photo by Kelly Long
Pictured: Rock Art Circles at Exeter Rocky Hill

Since 1892, when the first historical monument, a statue of James Marshall overlooking his 1848 gold discovery site near Coloma, was created Californians have treasured their unique and rich cultural heritage and sought to preserve the sites, architecture, and landscapes of their past. 

The creation of the State Parks in the 1920s allowed numerous impressive heritage properties to be acquired and protected through the California State Park System.  Today the Department of Parks and Recreation protects the most diverse cultural heritage holdings of any land managing agency in California.

Protection and preservation of the heritage resources within the Department’s 278 units requires that we know where these resources are located, and understand how they contribute to California’s expansive history.  To date a combined total of over 13,400 cultural resources have been recorded on State Park lands, and many more remain to be documented.  These precious archeological sites, buildings and structures, historic landscapes and cultural preserves represent a broad spectrum of California’s richly diverse past.  They include, but are not limited to:  Native American sites that span 10,000 years and reflect the variety of distinct cultural adaptations of prehistoric Californians; Mission Era sites and structures; Chinese, Russian, African American and other ethnic properties; early Californio and American Era resources; mining, ranching and agricultural landscapes; and underwater shipwrecks.  All contribute to our understanding of the development of California as we know it today, and all provide us with physical connections to our past.

Immigration Station in Angel Island State Park. Photo by Kelly Long
 Pictured: Immigration Station at Angel Island

The protection of these vast and varied heritage resources is a responsibility that all Californians expect of their State Park staff; the challenges of preserving these heritage resources for present and future generations are great. 

With the increasing development of California, the preservation of the heritage resources within State Park lands becomes even more critical.  State Parks has been assigned this duty via its Mission Statement; it implements its preservation responsibilities through a contemporary strategic vision, approved historic preservation practices, and comprehensive planning documents. 

Use this link to download:

"Index to Historic and Archaeological Resources (2007)"

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This Index functions as an important planning tool.  It has been created, in cooperation with the State Office of Historic Preservation, to help us comply with the Department of Parks and Recreation's mandated directive to identify, inventory, preserve and protect all of its significant historic resources.  The first Index was completed in 1985; this 2006 Index represents the seventh revision of that inventory and identifies all the known cultural resources under our protection.  The Index is frequently expanded and all attempts will be made to keep the index current , in order to provide park staff and managers with the most up-to-date information about the heritage resources within their jurisdiction.