Friends of China Camp – March 2021


Who said volunteers couldn’t get it done?

By Joyce Abrams

FOCC trail crew at Shoreline Trail restoration Winter 2021About nine years ago, Friends of China Camp became the operator of China Camp State Park. At the time, it seemed crazy for a bunch of local volunteers to run a state park, but they did it.

Eight years ago Ed Westbrook, an FOCC board member and experienced trail builder, said volunteers could restore China Camp’s trails. The volunteers said it couldn’t be done. Then, with the help of trained heavy-equipment operators, the volunteers got it done.

Seven years ago, Ed said FOCC could rent heavy equipment that volunteers would learn to operate to restore trails. Volunteers said it couldn’t be done. With Ed’s training and supervision, they got it done.

Six years ago, Ed said that FOCC should have its own equipment to operate and maintain. The volunteers said it couldn’t be done. Then, with the help of fundraising and donations, FOCC acquired a roller compactor and two toters. Once again, Ed was right, and they got it done. 

FOCC trail crew restores Shoreline Trail Winter 2021Over time, the fleet of machinery grew to include a roller compactor, a plate compactor, two mud buggies, and a powerful Ditch Witch with multiple attachments. With these tools, Ed said FOCC volunteers could restore a large stretch of Shoreline Trail with his consultation, but without his presence. The volunteers said it couldn’t be done. (Actually, it was more like, “Are you nuts???”)

In the last two months, Friends of China Camp volunteers (plus Park Manager Ian Nelson and Senior Park Aide Scott Griggs) have restored a staggering 3,000 linear feet of Shoreline Trail where it loops behind Back Ranch Meadows Campground. Incredibly, the last 875 linear feet were completed in two back-to-back marathon work days. That’s almost double the distance of what our volunteers used to accomplish over the course of a two-day work event. 

Shoreline Trail Restoration Winter 2021

Each work day at Shoreline, roughly a dozen trail maintenance volunteers worked together as a well-coordinated construction team, while a small team of trail ambassadors helped visitors negotiate detours.

Once again, we got it done. This beautiful and shady section of Shoreline Trail is now smooth and safe for all levels of hikers and mountain bikers.

“We should all feel proud of completing another milestone in our drive to restore the trails at China Camp,” says Ed. “Restoration of the  campground loop spanned over two years of all-volunteer work, and I am very happy that it is done and looking great. This section will serve us well for many years to come.”

The volunteers are proud of their accomplishment too, knowing they have created a family-friendly trail for all to enjoy. Come on out to see for yourself that, once again, we can get it done. 

Check out how you can volunteer at China Camp.