Thirty miles north of Eureka, Sue-meg State Park sits on a lushly forested promontory beside the Pacific Ocean.
The one-square mile park is densely packed with potential adventures. On a short walk around the perimeter of the park, you can hunt for agates, explore tidepools, and walk through a jungle of shrubs and trees as you peer out at seals, seal lions and migrating whales.
The Sue-meg State Park Visitor Center is a must stop for any visitor to this wonderful seaside and forested park.
In the park's interior, you'll find a visitor center, a native plant garden and a Yurok plank-house village. You can picnic or wake up to bird songs at one of three campgrounds. In summer, you can take a hike led by a docent or professional naturalist.
(from California State Parks' Official Sue-meg website)
On September 30, 2021, the California State Park and Recreation Commission voted unanimously to change the name of Patrick’s Point State Park to Sue-meg State Park.
The name “Sue-meg” has been used by Yurok people to describe the area where the park is now located since time immemorial. In 1851, Irish homesteader Patrick Beegan recorded a preemption claim on the westernmost promontory of the peninsula and built a small cabin there. Beegen was implicated in the murder of a Native American boy in 1854, then escaped to the Bald Hills, east of present-day Orick. In 1864, he led a militia to a Native American village where numerous Indigenous people were massacred. Although Beegen lived in the Sue-meg area for less than three years, other homesteaders came to call the area “Patrick’s Ranch” or “Patrick’s Point”.
When the State of California purchased the site in 1930 and brought it into the State Parks system, they adopted the name already widely in use at the time, Patrick’s Point. In spite of that, Yurok people continued to call the area by its original place name, Sue-meg. In 1990, the Yurok community worked with California State Parks to build a recreated Yurok village within the park, and gave the village the name “Sumêg” to honor the ancient name associated with the place.
In January of 2021, the Yurok Tribe formally requested that the California State Park and Recreation Commission change the name of Patrick’s Point State Park to Sue-meg State Park.
The changing of the name of Patrick’s Point State Park to Sue-meg State Park is the first park to have its name changed as part of the Reexamining Our Past Initiative. This larger project within California state government is working to identify and redress discriminatory names of features attached to the state parks and transportation systems.
“This genuinely historic decision represents a turning point in the relationship between tribes and the state. We asked the Commission to alter the name of the park because we have an obligation to ensure the next generation inherits a more just world,” said Joseph L. James, Chairman of the Yurok Tribe.
“California State Parks applauds the California State Park and Recreation Commission’s approval to rename Patrick’s Point State Park to Sue-meg State Park. This is the first park name change as part of the state’s Reexamining Our Past Initiative and is a momentous step to heal relationships with Native Americans in working together in recognition and honor of indigenous cultural and linguistic relationships.” said Armando Quintero, Director of California State Parks.