• Stars appear behind a dramatic landscape of rocky mountains, rolling hills, and fields of grass

    Santa Monica Mountains

    National Recreation Area California

History & Culture

This painting is one of the many objects that tell the story of the past at Paramount Ranch.

This painting is one of the many objects found in the park's archives that tell the story of the past at Paramount Ranch.

NPS/SAMO Archives

The landscape of the Santa Monica Mountains was not just created by geological forces, altered by weather, or covered by vegetation, but shaped by the people who lived and worked here.

People came to this area for many reasons. Initially, the Chumash and Tongva called the Santa Monica Mountains home. Then Spanish Explorers passed through these lands, followed by Rancheros and Homesteaders who worked the land they lived on. Still today, people work, travel, and recreate in the Santa Monica Mountains and call this place their home.

There are places that still remain from our past. Places we can touch and feel. Paramount Ranch, Solstice Canyon, and Rancho Sierra Vista / Satwiwa. All places that you can visit. Places that most importantly, create an emotional and intellectual connection to our past.

A guest book from Paramount Ranch is one of the many objects found in the park's collection.

A guest book from Paramount Ranch is one of the many objects found in the park's collection.

NPS/SAMO Archives

As a park, we look deep into the past through archeology and historical research. Investigating what people left behind. Into their past and the collections that tell the day to day story of their lives. From photographs to letters to even the things they threw away; everything tells a part of the story we share.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area strives to ensure the preservation of these collections, places, and stories of the people who impacted the landscape forever.

What story? What memory? What connection will you make to the past?

Did You Know?

The need for plants used in restoration projects loomed large for many years, but volunteers made it happen.

A core group of dedicated National Park volunteers, often laboring in the hot sun, built a native plant nursery from the ground up in 2002. Native plants, from the common Ceanothus to the endangered Lyons pygmy daisy germinated in this volunteer-run nursery will help restore disturbed habitat.