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Volunteers Renovate Historic Chinese Fishing Village

China Camp State Park in San Rafael is a portal into history. On the shores of the San Pablo Bay, it was settled in the 1880s by Chinese immigrants. The shrimp fishing village soon grew to nearly 500 residents, with three general stores, a marine supply store, and a barber shop. In addition to the historic buildings, the park also offers a campground, fifteen miles of hiking trails, and boat launch areas.

As is the case with any park, it needs consistent maintenance to make sure that the buildings don't topple over and that the trails don't become overgrown. While resident Frank Quan (a descendant of one of the original residents) does his best as the park's caretaker, he's also nearly 90 years old. Budget cuts to the state park program, meanwhile, have kept it from getting the attention it needs.

Luckily, there's the Park Champions Program. It's a group of volunteers that travel throughout California to assist in maintaining neglected parks by providing trail repair, removing invasive plant species, constructing bridges and fences, and restoring habitats. Last weekend, the group helped renovate the Bayview Trail portion of China Camp, working in two different shifts on Saturday.

If you want to help maintain more state parks, visit their website for more information about upcoming events.

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