Funds raised through the Park Improvement Funds program have been used to restore our Mendocino Coastal State Park's historical and natural resources, and improve public facilities. Continue reading for descriptions of specific Park Improvement Funds, Projects completed, or in the works, and the participating Inns who make this program possible.
Mendocino Headlands Fund
The Mendocino Headlands Park Improvement Fund, established in 2009, helped to fully restore the exterior of the Historic Ford House, which functions as the visitor center for the town of Mendocino, as well as Mendocino Headlands State Park. These funds have also helped to replace the hardwood flooring of the Ford House interior and to pay for a part time Gardner to keep the grounds a welcome place for visitors. The current project is the complete renovation of the public restrooms next door to the Ford House - restrooms that are the only available public facilities in town. So far, the Fund has paid for a local architect to create the necessary plans. With additional funding that is pending from CA State Parks, this project could break ground in the fall of 2017.
Mendocino Headlands Park Improvement Fund Participating Inns:
The MacKerricher Park Improvement Fund is a collaboration between MAPA, participating Fort Bragg Inns and their guests. So far these funds have helped to restore sections of the Lake Cleone Board walk – an ongoing project in collaboration with Friends of Lake Cleone. The current major project is a complete campfire center renovation. A new screen, new benches and updated power sources will greatly enhance the popular and entertaining summer campfire programs. In addition, the improvements will enhance the area’s capacity for special events like the annual MacKerricher Whale Festival.
MacKerricher Park Improvement Fund Participating Inns:
Van Damme Fund
The Van Damme Park Improvement Fund was started with generous support from the nearby Little River Inn. The current project is the stabilization and eventual restoration of the Historic Kent/Spring Ranch Barns. Sufficient funds have now been raised to reroof the barns, the first phase of stabilization. However, the work was stalled until a study of the resident colony of Townsend Big Eared Bats had been completed, to determine the best time of the year to reroof the barns and not disturb the bats, a species of concern. The Fund paid for the study, now complete, and it has been determined that a window of time exists in the fall when the work can take place. New roofs are planned for the barns in the fall of 2017!
The historic Spring Ranch Barns are located in a high open meadow alongside Highway 1 overlooking the Pacific Ocean. There are several barns on the property, but the oldest barn is circa 1864. Sheep ranching, a dairy, and butchering are some of the farm activities carried out at the ranch. The story of these historic treasures reveals the successes and struggles of pioneer life on the Mendocino Coast.
Van Damme Park Improvement Fund Participating Inns:
The Van Damme Project comprises more than one level of support.
- Stabilization: The goal is to save as many of the Spring Ranch Barns as possible, but the three-bay and long barns might be beyond saving.
- Collaboration: Discussions between the donors, community and Parks as to the eventual use of the barns - community center; special events; living history ranch.
How Does the Donor Program work?
- The Project provides guests of participating lodging establishments , and donors, the opportunity to make a contribution to help save these scenic and beautifully proportioned barns before they deteriorate beyond repair.
- Inn Guests: At checkout, a special surcharge (a small percentage of the room rate) will be added to the guest’s bill. The guest may opt out if they wish. The donation is entirely voluntary.
- Your donation proves that people value cultural history and allows us to encourage grant monies and additional contributions.
How will The Donations Be Managed?
The donations are held in trust by Mendocino Area Parks Association (MAPA) in an account restricted for park improvements like the one at Spring Ranch Barns. MAPA, a nonprofit that is independent of State Parks, supports education programs, four visitor centers/museum, and these important park improvement projects. The donations raised for the Van Damme Project will be used strictly for this particular park improvement project.
How was the program started?
The Mendocino Area Parks Association (MAPA), with guidance from California State Parks, has entered into a partnership with the Inns and B&Bs of the Mendocino Coast to raise funds to help support the state parks that their guests enjoy during their stay here. In this partnership, participating Inns and B&B's (listed below) give their guests the option to donate one percent of their room rate to fund park improvement projects in a nearby state park. Donations are voluntary, and guests may opt out—though very few do so. The overwhelming majority of guests are pleased to be making a contribution to the parks that have provided them with opportunities for recreation, renewal, and just plain gorgeous views. The Inns turn over the funds to MAPA to hold in a restricted account specifically to pay for park improvement projects. The Inn Keepers, MAPA and California State Parks meet annually to discuss current park needs, the needs of park visitors, and how the funds should best be spent.