China Camp State Park: A San Francisco Bay Treasure

China Camp tour
Save The Bay supporters tour China Camp with Donna Ball and Doug Serrill.

Last weekend Save The Bay’s Nursery Manager, Doug Serrill and I had the opportunity to take advantage of the warm spring weather and hike two of the many trails at China Camp State Park with a number of Save The Bay Board members, guests, family, and friends.   Group participants included long-time supporters and founding members of Save The Bay, new Save The Bay members, and long-time conservationists who have worked hard over their lifetime to preserve and protect important wetlands around San Francisco Bay.

China Camp has a rich history as a Coast Miwok hunting ground, Chinese shrimping village, and more recently as a State Park.  Our group of 40 guests and staff arrived early in the morning eager to hike and learn about the area.   We divided into two groups and each group had the chance to learn about the ecology of tidal marshes and to see one of the few remaining relict marshes of San Francisco Bay, while the other group learned about native grasses and oak woodlands and got to view the spring wildflowers on the hill slopes above the marsh.   Being outdoors on a beautiful Saturday morning was incredible, but more importantly it was an amazing opportunity to share the morning with people who have a common passion for the work of Save The Bay and for protecting and preserving wetlands and valuable places like China Camp that make San Francisco Bay such a wonderful place to live.

There were a surprising number of people in our group who had never been to China Camp.   If you too have never been there, be sure to find time soon to visit this State Park gem with 1,500 acres of hiking, biking, and picnicking opportunities situated at the edge of San Pablo Bay.  China Camp is currently operated by Friends of China Camp who work with the California State Parks to ensure that China Camp is available to everyone 365 days a year.  If you would like to know more, visit

Weekly Roundup October 12, 2012

weekly roundupThis week, we celebrate the news that our founder Sylvia McLaughlin will soon have Eastshore State Park named in her honor. “I feel extremely honored to have this park named for me,” McLaughlin said to the Daily Californian. “I hope that it will be a joy for future generations and also hope they will continue to appreciate and guard it.” In other news, Save The Bay and Marin County Parks launched a new restoration project at Creekside Marsh. NRDC’s blog affirms that this “Restoration Economy” is good for the environment and job growth. And we agree that Measure B would renew local funding for safe, clean water in Santa Clara County and protect our Bay. Finally, our friend Rick Lewis has some incredible photos from Arrowhead Marsh in Bay Nature.

The Daily Californian 10/10/2012
State park named for Berkeley environmentalist Sylvia McLaughlin
The California State Park and Recreation Commission has renamed Eastshore State Park in honor of lifelong environmental advocate and 95-year-old Berkeley resident Sylvia McLaughlin.
Read more coverage in the Oakland Tribune >>
Share your message for Sylvia here >>

Twin Cities Times 10/10/2012
Restoration project breaks ground
Volunteers of all ages throughout the Bay Area spent Saturday morning dirtying their hands and cleansing the environment, as Save The Bay and Marin County Parks partnered to launch their newest restoration site at Creekside Marsh at Hal Brown Park in Greenbrae.
Read more coverage in the Marin Independent Journal >>

NRDC Switchboard 10/9/2012
The New “Restoration Economy” a Boon for Jobseekers and the Environment
The news this past week has been plastered with encouraging headlines regarding the recent September, and revised July and August job growth numbers. Jobless rate falls to 7.8%, lowest since January 2009! Jobless rate hits 44-month low! 114K jobs added in Sept.; July, Aug. updates help unemployment rate! There’s an economic movement underfoot that will continue to support these much-revered statistics and the growth of good jobs – the “restoration economy.”

San Jose Mercury News 10/11/2012
Mike Mielke and Ben Field: Measure B will protect Santa Clara valley against flooding
Many of us remember that large parts of downtown San Jose looked more like a lake than a city after the torrential rains in 1995. Flooding at Highway 87 near the HP Pavilion ruined more than 300 homes and businesses. Still, we go about our daily lives taking for granted that we will always have a water system that protects us against flooding and provides clean, safe water to drink.

Bay Nature 10/8/2012
Snatch! The vultures vs. the hawk
Arrowhead Marsh, which juts out into the bay next to the Oakland Airport, is often full of drama. In a battle among feathered titans, a red-tailed hawk spots a group of vultures settling in on a carcass. The red-tail makes its move. Ask yourself: can you truly feel sorry for vultures?
Read more and view photos >>

Save The Bay Founder Honored with State Park Naming

Sylvia planting
Sylvia McLaughlin plants Save The Bay’s 100,000th native seedling. photo credit:

I know that I speak for all of my colleagues when I say that Sylvia McLaughlin is one of my heroes. Sylvia founded Save The Bay in 1961 with her friends Kay Kerr and Esther Gulick and has been a tireless advocate on behalf of San Francisco Bay since then. Now Sylvia will have a fitting tribute when she becomes one of two women to have a California State Park named after her. After a unanimous vote by the California State Park and Recreation Commission, Eastshore State Park – which Sylvia helped to create – will be re-named McLaughlin Eastshore State Park.

Clearly stated, the Bay wouldn’t be the thriving natural treasure it is today without the tireless work of Sylvia and her friends. The “tea ladies” as they were initially called, stopped rampant fill and dumping and prevented the Bay from becoming a narrow, polluted river. What makes Sylvia even more impressive is that she saved the Bay during a time when woman weren’t respected as leaders as they are today, when filling in the Bay was considered progress and the word “environmentalism” didn’t even exist. But Sylvia saw her beautiful Bay disappearing before her eyes and decided to do something about it. And she didn’t give up when it became hard and when powerful men told her she would fail. And she has hardly slowed down since then. Just a few years ago, Sylvia helped two students plant Save The Bay’s 100,000th native wetland seedling along the Oakland shoreline. And she recently attended one of our restoration projects reminding volunteers, “the Bay is never saved – it is always in the process of being saved.”

I encourage you to leave a note of congrats for Sylvia in the comments section of this blog and we will share your notes with her. I’ll get that started by saying, “Sylvia, congratulations. And thank you for saving the Bay.”