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Friends of China Camp celebrates 10 years of advocacy with an event Oct. 6. Photo courtesy of Friends of China Camp

Celebrating 10 years as the operator of China Camp State Park, Friends of China Camp will host a special celebration on Oct. 6.  “Our China Camp – 10 Years Together,” will be hosted at the park’s historic China Camp Village  overlooking San Pablo Bay. 

   “A decade ago, the community came together to keep China Camp open,” said Martin Lowenstein, executive director of Friends of China Camp, operator of the roughly 1,500-acre state park. ”It has been an extraordinary achievement for our nonprofit to operate the park for the past 10 years. Volunteers stepped into leadership roles to keep our gates open.”

   Established in 1978, China Camp State Park in San Rafael has protected oak and bay woodlands, broad meadows and some of the healthiest tidal wetlands in the San Francisco Bay Area. The park also protects an important piece of the Bay Area’s past: a Chinese-American shrimping village, dating back to the 1860s. 

   For over three decades, China Camp was operated by California State Parks. When the financial crisis of 2008 hit the California economy, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sought to shut down many of the state’s 280 parks. The wildly unpopular idea was eventually shelved. 

   But with the economy still struggling, the next governor, Jerry Brown, revived the idea in 2011, proposing permanent closure of 70 state parks, including China Camp. Locals rose up and  worked together to come up with a solution that would avert closure. Efforts paid off  in 2012 when a new state law proposed by then-state Assemblyman (and now U.S. Congressman) Jared Huffman, authorized Friends of China Camp to take on the role of park operator.

   The event will include a waterfront dinner with guest speakers, including Rep.  Huffman, D-San Rafael; Armando Quintero, director of California State Parks; and Carol Acquaviva, librarian and archivist in the Anne T. Kent California Room at the Marin County Free Library. For more information and tickets, visit  friendsofchinacamp.org

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