The History of Russian River Recreation & Parks

families enjoying the russian river historic photo c. early 20th century

Families enjoying a swim (c. early 20th Century)

The Russian River, from the Guerneville region to the Pacific Coast, is a world famous recreation & vacation destination. For as long as anyone can remember “going up to the river” has been a popular way for people from the Bay Area to vacation, whether for a day trip, a resort weekend, or an entire summer in the family cabin.

HistoricGallery-ICONWhen the Russian River Recreation and Park District (RRRPD) was formed in March 1941 as a county recreation district, the district’s initial function was to create swimming and beach areas by installing two summer dams, one at Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville and a second dam at Vacation Beach, where the dam also provides a summer crossing.

The district contains approximately 10 square miles encompassing the communities of Guerneville, Rio Nido, Guernewood Park, Vacation Beach and the six miles stretch of the Russian River along which these communities are located.

As the recreational needs of district residents have become more important, the RRRPD dam-installation mission has evolved to include parks, tennis courts, a community garden, river access, and a dog park.

In addition to the facilities and services RRRPD offers directly, the District supports other local organizations and programs to help provide recreational programs for the public.