Anderson Marsh

1977 archaeology crew crossing Cache Creek to walk the property.
During the drought of 1977, Parker (with daughter Amber in backpack) walks the marsh shoreline littered with mortars, metates, manos and pestles.
Elem Tribal Historian Jim Brown III and Parker on Sacramento’s Channel 3 News
Parker shows Elem spiritual leader Jim Brown II and wife Elvina a rock art panel in the park.
Parker shows Elem Tribal elder John Kelsey some of the rock art in the park.

Between 1976 and 1978, John Parker led a team of Sonoma State University archaeologists to survey and recorded prehistoric sites at Anderson Marsh. Parker nominated the 43 prehistoric sites to the National Register of Historic Places as the Anderson Marsh Archaeological District.

Between 1978 and 1982, Parker’s grass-roots lobbying prompted the State to purchase 1000 acres and 38 of those archaeological sites as a new State Historic Park. 

It took a Community

Though the preservation of the cultural sites may have been John Parker’s vision, it took the whole community to make it happen. Civic clubs and citizen groups wrote letters of support, Native American leaders wrote letters of support, local newspapers did feature articles about the project. Both local and regional radio and TV carried stories supporting the proposed new park.

In the end, it came down to a final public hearing before the Lake County Board of Supervisors. The major landowner had applied for permits to change the land’s agricultural use to a residential use. This change would have increased the value to a point where the State could no longer afford the purchase. On the day of the hearing, it was standing room only in the Supervisor’s Chambers. The public turned out in mass to voice their support for the park purchase. Members of the Department of Fish and Game, State Parks, the Audubon Society, Native American groups, The Historical Society, the Sierra Club, and many civic organizations were there. The owner’s agent asked for a continuance, but it couldn’t be granted, so the owner withdrew his application.

Here are some of the support letters:

The Birds of Anderson Marsh