Resource Management Agency Seal



Monterey County Parks Dept.
1441 Schilling Place, 2nd Floor
Salinas, CA 93901
831.755.4899 (Reservations)
831.755.4895 (Business) 
888.588.2267 (Toll Free)
831.757.9516 (Fax)

Laguna Seca:
831-242-8200 (Reservations)

Lake Nacimiento:

Lake San Antonio:



Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

Main homepage banner of a young boy with helmet and sunglasses

1950 - 1959

  • November 4, 1954
    Monterey County Flood Control and Water Conservation District received water rights to the Nacimiento River.

  • 1955-1957
    Nacimiento Dam was constructed by Monterey County Flood Control and Water Conservation District Zone 2 at a cost of $7,000,000.

  • April 2, 1958
    • Nacimiento Lake filled due to extremely wet winter and flowed 4.5 feet over its spillway.
    • First couple of years there were no facilities, old roads were used to launch boats.
    • A small marina was constructed at the North Shore.
    •A Fish and Game grant supplied funds to construct 2 launch ramps, access roads and parking areas at the North and South Shores.
    • A second concession was constructed at the South Shore. It consisted of a store, marina and gas station. Flood control operated the toll gates, campgrounds and boat patrol.
    • The first crew of park employees was hired. They were called “patrolmen” (Rangers) and “attendants” (Park Aides).

1960 - 1969

  • 1964-1965
    San Antonio Dam was constructed by Monterey County Flood Control and Water Conservation District at a cost of $13,500,000. A recreation area at the lake was constructed at the same time.

  • April 1, 1966
    Monterey County Parks Department was formed. Monterey County Flood Control and Water Conservation District decided they did not want to be in the recreation business. The Parks Department hired its first Director, Everett Gale.

  • June 1,  1966
    Monterey County Parks Commission was formed.

  • September 4, 1966
    Royal Oaks Park was officially opened to the public. Originally, Royal Oaks was operated by the Buildings and Grounds Department. Facilities included a narrow entry road, parking lot, picnic tables, barbecue pits, two small restrooms, and no lawn.

  • 1967
    The North County Parks system was transferred to the Parks Department from the Buildings and Grounds Department. The system consisted of: Royal Oaks Park, Memorial Park in Monterey, Jetty Beach at Moss Landing, Marina Beach and Dunes, Zmudowski Beach near Moss Landing, Marina Community Center, Carmel Del Mesa, Junipero Serra Monument in Carmel, Pajaro Tot Lot, and numerous other service areas and donated parcels of land.

  • June 16, 1967
    San Antonio Recreation Area opened to the public. Cost $4.5 million.

  • January 30, 1968
    Everett Gael resigned as Parks Director; went to work for the Merced Irrigation District.

  • April 30, 1968
    Earl Smith hired as second Director of Parks. He came from Santa Clara County where he was assistant director under William Penn Mott. Earl’s main goal was to finalize the acquisition of the property for Toro Regional Park which had been in process for many years.

  • 1969
    Toro Park property was acquired. There were many parcels of land involved, some gifts. At 4,756 acres, it was boasted to be the largest regional park in the state.

1970 - 1979

  • September 14, 1971
    Acquired entire 525 acres of property for Jacks Peak Park. Fifty-five original acres were donated to the County by the Sierra Club many years earlier.

  • September 17, 1971
    Toro Park officially opened to the public.

  • April 22, 1974
    Acquired 559 acres property for Laguna Seca from the U.S. Army under President Nixon’s “Legacy of Parks” program. A rifle range, archery range and bicycle motocross track was constructed to go along with the automobile racetrack which had been operated by SCRAMP for many years.

  • December 20, 1974
    Acquired San Lorenzo park property (Originally Salinas River Park).

  • May 11, 1976
    Acquired Manzanita Park (then called the “500 acres” in the Prunedale area. After construction of an entry road, water and electrical system, development of the park by the county was curtailed due to lack of funding (Proposition 13). The North County Youth Association, a local nonprofit group, has raised nearly $200,000 in funds and has developed a sports complex in the park.

  • July 1, 1976
    San Lorenzo Park was opened to the public.

  • January 14, 1977
    Jacks Peak Park was opened to the public.

  • December 9, 1977
    Earl Smith retired as Parks Director.

  • April 11, 1978
    Peter Dangermond was hired by the Board of Supervisors as the Department’s third Director of Parks. He set the Parks Department on a direction of self-support with the development of Laguna Seca as a revenue-producing recreation area as a major goal.

1980 - 1989

  • March 29, 1980
    Groundbreaking for the Monterey County Agricultural and Rural Life Museum (MCARLM) at San Lorenzo Park.

  • June 24, 1980
    Peter Dangermond resigned to become Director of the California Parks System.

  • August 26, 1980
    Jon “Pete” Soderberg appointed as fourth Director of Parks.

  • April 18, 1981
    Grand opening of Laguna Seca Recreation Area. Celebrated opening of added campground, lake, picnic areas and restrooms.

  • April 17, 1982
    Museum dedicated at first annual Valley Heritage Day at San Lorenzo Park.

  • September 17, 1987
    Pope John Paul II visits Laguna Seca Recreation Area and gives mass to approximately 70,000 spectators. This was the largest spectator event in the history of Monterey County.

  • 1988
    Laguna Seca track extended from 1.9 miles to 2.214 miles to accommodate the world grand prix international circuit for 500 cc motorcycles.

  • April 7, 1988
    Laguna Seca raceway hosted the first international motorcycle road racing Grand Prix to be held in the United States since 1965.

  • April 22, 1989
    First Earth Day held at Toro Park.

1990 - 1999

  • January 1, 1990
    Eagle Watch Tours initiated at Lake San Antonio.

  • March 1990
    Eagle Watch program receives Award of Excellence from the National Park and Recreation Association and the California Park and Recreation Society.

  • September 12, 1990
    John Steinbeck’s short story, Molly Morgan, filmed at San Lorenzo Park.

  • March 28, 1991
    Monterey County Parks celebrates its 25th anniversary (1966-1991).

  • April 6, 1991
    Manzanita Park holds the grand opening of its sports complex.

    April 7, 1991
    First Laguna Seca Challenge bike races.

  • March 16, 1992
    Board of Supervisors signs five year contract with Bill Graham Presents to promote concerts at Laguna Seca.

  • April 1, 1993
    Lake San Antonio North Shore reopens after being closed due to drought since 1989.

  • September 8, 1995
    New cross-country course opens at Toro Park.

  • November 5, 1995
    Laguna Seca track lengthened to 2.238 miles, turns 10 and 11 redesigned and pit stalls lengthened.

  • February 7, 1996
    Board of Supervisors sign contract with Skip Barber Racing School.

  • July 12, 1996
    Motocross track opens at Laguna Seca.

  • April 29, 1997
    John Pinio appointed as Parks Director.

  • July 31, 1997
    First Spirit West Coast concert held at Laguna Seca.

  • October 21, 1997
    First 24 Hours of Adrenaline held at Laguna Seca.

  • May 18, 1999
    Accessible interpretive trail opens at Toro Park.

  • July 1, 1999
    Alcohol banned in day use parks.

2000 - 2009

  • April 5, 2001
    Board of Supervisors approves five year $7.5 million naming agreement with Mazda Motor of America at Laguna Seca.

  • November 2, 2001
    Lake San Antonio Visitor Center dedicated.

  • January 18, 2003
    $7.5 million in improvements unveiled at Laguna Seca, including corporate suites, individual suites and garages.

  • July 4, 2004
    Irrigation Museum operated at San Lorenzo Park.

  • December 2004
    Constructed a new $1.9 million boat launch ramp and parking lot at Lake Nacimiento.

  • November 1, 2005
    Board of Supervisors sign a ten year extension with the Skip Barber Racing School.

  • December 22, 2005
    Work begins on $7 million upgrade at Laguna Seca including track resurfacing, run-off improvements, and new hospitality/media center.

  • May 2007
    Celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Wildflower Festival.

  • October 1, 2007
    Parks Department assumes management of Lake Nacimiento and Lake San Antonio Resorts.

  • December 18, 2007
    Board of Supervisors approves arming of Parks Department rangers.