Our Story

The planning meetings for the development of an educational visitor’s center on the newly acquired 488 acre Mendocino National Forest, to be known as the Red Bluff Recreation Area, started in the fall of 1994 and ended in the spring of 1995. The project along the Sacramento River would involve representatives from 48 public and private groups and was largely funded by CALFED.

The planning committee was strongly dedicated to having these initial funds result in work on the ground, as well as a high quality plan for the future of the Center. With this goal in mind, some of these funds were used to purchase and place the portable building for the initial Discovery Center, develop the native plant garden surrounding the building, and support in building Ben’s pond, over 4 miles of walking & biking trails, and the group campground.

The Demonstration garden was developed by members of the California Native Plant Society, spearheaded by John and Marion McMahon and Jeff Glaspy. Designed for low-water use landscaping which features California native plants, we aim to inspire visitors  while restoring native ecosystems along the river. Use of drought tolerant plants has been very important during the California drought years.

The Sacramento River Discovery Center has been identified as one of the 200 most diverse ecosystems in the world that must be preserved.  We have identified over 125 species of birds and provide monthly guided bird walks through our trails. The Area has been identified as a “Watchable Wildlife Site” due to the diversity of animals that can be viewed here.

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