Thursday, October 4, 2012

Parks Divide

On Friday of last week robbers made off with $2million in gold and precious stones but missed the mother load. A piece of California’s Gold Rush history had to be left behind as the robbers had set off an alarm and the authorities were on their way. This all happened at California Mining and Minerals Museum, one of the 70 State Parks that were to be shuttered because of lack of funds.

In May of 2012, with a starter grant from the prestigious Baum Foundation, I began photographing several of the parks that were to close. I interviewed representatives from the non-profits who were to become the new shepherds of these parks as they would began to close in July of 2012.  Some of the parks had outside vendors bidding to run the park as they would see fit. Here is how that works, you pay $35 a night for camping right now. They are run by our State Parks with Rangers who are there to uphold the integrity of the park as well as protect its, valuable resources. When the outside vendors take over California gets $3.50 and who knows what their background is as caretakers to our parks.

I interviewed campers, camp hosts, park rangers. I was serenaded at Jack London State Park.  And then there was Sam Quan. Sam grew up in what is now China Camp State Park on the shore of San Rafael and still lives there. One of the first San Francisco Bay shrimp junks is named in honor of Quan's mother, Grace.  The ship, Grace Quan, now restored is on display at the Maritime Museum in San Francisco.  His family’s story is alive and is part of the rich history of the struggle of immigrants in America best scene at our State Museum and Parks. Parks Divide blog, is here to inform and hopefully get you up, get out and get you wise to what our State Parks has to offer everyone.

Oh yeah, as it turns out the parks system never was short of cash but more on that later.

“The Idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders.”
Edward Abbey.

Frank Quan looks out from his home of 86 years at China Camp State Park.
"These closings is just, well it's just hard on the whole family. We are
hoping donations will keep the park open and preserve our museum."

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