Eagle Scouts help build trash boxes Apr 2022

Massive thanks to next-gen volunteers

Eagle Scouts and high-school mountain bikers pitch in to make the park better.

At China Camp, we are always blown away by the generosity of our community, especially contributions by bright young leaders. Recently, the park (and its visitors) benefitted from two projects taken on by teens and young adults. Their creativity, spirit, generosity, and commitment to making China Camp even better is inspiring.

Eagle Scout targets the park he loves

Eagle Scout Carter Bussi and FOCC’s Scott Griggs
Eagle Scout Carter Bussi and FOCC’s Scott Griggs during construction of Carter’s trash-bin project.

When it came time to come up with an Eagle Scout project, 17-year-old Carter Bussi knew where he wanted to focus.

“I chose China Camp because of the effect the park has had on me,” says the San Rafael High junior. “I’ve been visiting China Camp my whole life, and this is my way of giving back to the park I love.”

In visiting China Camp, Carter had noticed that our wooden trash bins had definitely seen better days. So for his Eagle Scout project, which is required for reaching the highest level in Boy Scouts of America, Carter decided to build new bins and donate them to the park.

Earlier this year, Carter invited other Boy Scouts to help with his bin project, using materials purchased through Carter’s own fundraising. With assistance from park staffer Scott Griggs, the Scouts measured and cut wood, hammered nails, screwed in hinges, and painted panels. According to Scott, the work group was organized, focused, respectful of the workspace, and cleaned up at the end of each day. The results: beautiful new boxes for our trash and recycling containers.

“Now that this project is over, I’m glad I was able to make an impact on China Camp,” notes Carter. “I’m super happy with how the project turned out and I couldn’t have done it without the help of the Friends of China Camp. Everyone was super easy to work with and I would definitely work with them again for any other Scout-related activities.”

Thank you, Carter, and come back anytime.

Young East Bay mountain bikers pitch in

El Cerrito High Mt Bike team on Earth Day work day
Members, coaches, and parents of the El Cerrito High School Mountain Bike Team help maintain one of China Camp’s bridges at a recent workday.

Building on a legacy that now stretches back for several years, members of the El Cerrito High School Mountain Biking Team (aka Wildcats), along with parents and coaches, pitched in this spring with two days of trail work at China Camp State Park.

The first event, which took place in early March, focused on illegally-built social trails. Some 70 El Cerrito volunteers used coir mat, riprap, and brush, and installed split-rail fencing to close off access to these destructive trails. Head Coach Cortis Cooper was very pleased with the project, and appreciated the chance to educate his young mountain bikers about the damage caused by social trails.

The second event, held in mid-April, drew a group of roughly 50 team members and parents. With Friends of China Camp volunteer leads, the group split up to work on sections of the park’s signature Shoreline Trail. The route had recently undergone an extensive rehab to meet ADA requirements, but there were still a few tasks to get done before reopening the trail to the public after a month of work.

Young mountain bike team from El Cerrito High helps block damaging social trails.

One group focused on trail crossings, making them accessible for people with wheelchairs and mobility disabilities. Another group reduced the risk of silt and dirt runoff by spreading straw, clippings, and other organics atop the raw edges of the newly repaired trail. Another group groomed overgrown sections of the trail, and closed off an illegal social trail.

Finally, a special shout-out to the young knees of yet another group of El Cerrito volunteers. Tasked with removing dirt from the cracks in two of the trail’s wooden bridges, the Wildcats got down on their hands and knees, and, using kitchen spatulas, screwdrivers, and other ad hoc tools, pried dirt out from between the bridge slats—an important step in extending the life of these important crossings.

The whole group was impressed and proud of the work they had accomplished. They then had the well-earned pleasure of removing the trail barriers and being the first to ride the route after weeks of closure.

Thanks to everyone—of all ages—for their hard work, positive attitudes, and camaraderie, and to Coach Cort Cooper for making this such a productive and positive partnership.—by Joyce Abrams and Harriot Manley, FOCC volunteers