Compared to other regions, such as the Pacific Northwest, there’s a dearth of quality cruising destinations on San Francisco Bay, so when one of them is threatened, boaters need to band together to save it. Such is the case with China Camp, a delightful spot along the edge of San Pablo Bay.
Settled in the mid-1800s by Chinese fishermen, China Camp was a thriving community until exclusion laws in 1882 forced residents out of the fishing trade. Over the decades, the population of the little village dwindled to just one — Frank Quan, now 85, the son of two of community’s founders — and it was eventually turned into a state park in ’77. The few buildings that remain, including a small museum, are a poignant reminder of simpler time, and give sailors the rare opportunity to stretch their legs ashore while expanding their world view.
Sadly, China Camp is one of 70 state parks that’s slated for closure on July 1. On the bright side, the Friends of China Camp have worked up a proposal to the Parks Department that would take the financial burden of upkeep and maintenance off the state. If approved early, there might not even be a blip in services — from the fascinating museum and collection of buildings, to the miles of biking and hiking trails, to a number of camp sites, to a barbecue/picnic area with a stunning view. But the plan depends on raising $250,000 to supplement the monies received from parking and camping fees. An all-out fund raising push has collected close to $200,000, but with just 54 days remaining before D-Day, China Camp needs all the help it can get.
Though it costs nothing to drop the hook in the broad anchorage off the park’s beach, boaters have a responsibility to contribute if we have ever enjoyed – and want to keep enjoying – the shoreside amenities. You can help save the park by joining the Friends of China Camp, or by simply donating. Together we can ensure this gem of a destination will shine for years to come.