The park is the only one that was part of the Mendocino Indian Reserve in the park system at one time. It is the only park unit in northern Mendocino County that was part of the vast timber and shipping holdings of the Union Lumber Company. A small, independent logging and shipping operation started here, and the larger corporation then absorbed it. Historically known as Cleone, MacKerricher followed a pattern common to many of the region's small areas. In 1952, the park was officially opened; land was added up until 1977 along the Ten Mile beach.
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