May 15, 2011

China Camp, before they shut it down


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photo by Donald Kinney

Well, the headlines yesterday reported plans to shut down four state parks in this area, and China Camp State Park is one of them. I'm sure you've heard -- the State of California is in deep doo-doo financially.



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

During California's gold rush and the building of the transcontinental railroad Chinese immigrants did most of the heavy lifting. When the gold vanished and the railroad was finished the Chinese had to find other ways of making a subsistence, and of course many of them had experience as fishermen.



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

The only problem is that the "white man" didn't take kindly to competition from Asians. Incredibly draconian regulations were placed on the Chinese fishermen. Chinese were required to hire a white person to deliver their catch to market and there were severe restrictions placed on the Chinese as to what they could fish for and when. Netting shrimp was one business Chinese were allowed to participate.



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Today, the last remaining person at China Camp is a kindly old gentleman in his '80's -- Frank Quan who has lived at China Camp all of his life. He still sets his net and then waits -- but the catch of Bay Shrimp is just a tiny fraction of what it used to be.



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Just not enough water coming into the bay (this is San Pablo Bay, the upper thumb of San Francisco Bay). Most fresh water from the snow melt gets diverted for agricultural uses in the Central Valley.



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

But closed or not -- China Camp will still be here, and closed or not I'm sure I'll be sneaking in on a regular basis.

CLICK to see more of China Camp set of photos on what I call my "big" site.



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2 comments:

Jennifer said...

Love the rustic wood shots - and especially the colours in the second one. And always LOVE the old signs!

Scott said...

Very interesting post. You have to worry about how long the old camp will last when it's not being maintained.

 
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