Singing the park’s praises

Accolades for Friends of China Camp and the park

It’s been a banner year for Friends of China Camp. Over the past few months, awards and accolades have rolled in from a host of organizations, leaving our largely volunteer nonprofit organization humbled and proud to be doing what it takes to keep China Camp State Park open and thriving. 

“These awards are a testament to the hard work and commitment of our volunteers, who rise to the occasion again and again,” says Executive Director Martin Lowenstein. “From building trails to repairing storm damage, FOCC takes on challenges head on, and gets things done.”

Here’s a look at the support and recognition that’s been coming our way in 2023.

Grassroots Champion Award (California State Parks Foundation)

FOCC board member Ed Lai holds the 2023 Grassroots Champion award from CA State Parks Foundation.

In May, Friends of China Camp received this award for being a template of how a nonprofit can successfully manage and operate a state park. The California StateParks Foundation, which works to preserve and protect California’s expansive state park system, cited Friends of China Camp as an outstanding example of how a public agency and a nonprofit can forge a partnership that works, and works well. As heralded in a recent article in CSPF’s quarterly report, Friends of China Camp, one of 14 nonprofits now running a California State Park, shows how an organization can “put in the daily work to make sure [the park] stays open and runs smoothly.”

Partnership Grant (Giving Marin Community Partnership)

You know how you feel when you put on your coat, slide your hand in your pocket and discover a $20 bill hiding there? Nice, right? Now imagine pulling out not just one but 25 $20 bills. That’s pretty much what happened earlier this year when Friends of China Camp received a $5,000 grant from the Giving Marin Community Partnership, an initiative of community-minded businesses and institutions in the North Bay aiming to raise community engagement and support for local nonprofits. The generous donation helped fund Friends of China Camp’s recent overhaul of trail signs throughout the park.

Best Park/Open Space  (Pacific Sun “Best of Marin 2023”)

Getting the nod for a “Best of Marin” award always makes us feel especially proud. That’s because it’s people like you, who are out there enjoying the park, who cast the votes that put us on top, as you have for many years.

It’s no secret that Marin County has a jaw-dropping array of parks and open space areas—think Muir Woods, Point Reyes, and Mount Tamalpais—and we’re humbled to come out on top in such lofty company. These awards give an annual snapshot of the best that Marin has to offer, from local businesses and services to museums and cultural events. Winning again motivates our organization and volunteers to continue to make China Camp State Park a beautiful and welcoming natural retreat for all.

—by Harriot Manley/FOCC volunteer

Photos: sheila coll, harriot manley