History of Año Nuevo Island
As a State Park Interpreter at Año Nuevo State Park, Mike Merritt spends a great deal of time exploring San Mateo County’s coastal parks. In doing so he has discovered a rich history stretching from the days of the Ohlone local tribes to the struggles of early pioneer dairy ranchers. Raised in North Carolina, it wasn’t hard for Merritt to get hooked on California history with its lure of gold and a new beginning. His interest into history really picked up the summer he worked as a seasonal park aide at Butano State Park. There he discovered the diary of one of the early pioneer settlers that came to the area in the 1860s. This story captured his imagination on what it must have been like to live in the place that would one day become a park. Since then Merritt’s interest into the California coast’s past has grown and stretches from the small town of Pescadero to the forests of Waddell Canyon. He has many responsibilities in his job, but his favorite is giving a voice to our California State parks. As a result he enjoys sharing what he has learned in hopes that he can unlock more clues to discover our history.