China Creek Park Project

We are actively working on an education and restoration project at China Creek Park, an undeveloped Fresno County park near Centerville.  A range of volunteer activity is available from weed pulling to leading a docent tour to trail maintenance. For more information call Warren Shaw 559-451-1256 or email

Download the China Creek Nature Trail brochure (PDF) before heading off for an easy stroll through the Valley Oak woodland.

June 2017

china-creek-trail-signs.pngIt was one of those weird weeks that occasional occur in late spring/early summer in the San Joaquin Valley. The high on Monday was 72°F. The high on Saturday (our work party day) was 102°F, a thirty degree increase in less than a week. The effect was  uncomfortable, but we survived by working through our usual break time (10:00am) and quitting an hour early (11:00am).

We were experimenting with a new approach to eliminate blooming thistle plants, in which we removed the blossom/seed head and cut down the plant to prevent it from producing new blossoms. We decided this system has some promise, but needs refinement.

We did, in any case, haul off a 30 gallon garbage bag stuffed with thistle heads—mostly milk thistle (Silybum marianum)—and containing probably millions of seeds that will no longer germinate in the Park. We also “planted” needle grass (Stipa spp.) and a little blue wild rye (Elymus glaucus ssp. glaucus) in the south east section of the park by spreading “hay,” cuttings from Thelma’s extensive native grass plantings. Following the planting, we dug out yellow star thistle (YST; Centaurea solstitialis), sprayed bull thistle (Circium vulgare) until we ran out of chemical, and made notes on patches of YST for Hank to spray later.

2017 Work Party Schedule

All dates are Saturdays.
Nov., Jan., Feb. use winter hours 9 am-12 noon
All other months are 8 am-12 noon

January 21 February 18 March 18 ● April 15 ● May 20
June 17 July 15August 26 ● September 16 ● October 14
November 18 + Thank-you LunchNo December workday

Dates may change. Persons on the mailing list receive notice of changes.


To get to China Creek, take Kings Canyon/CA 180 east across Academy to Centerville. Follow Smith or Oliver south to Rainbow 1/4 mi. Turn south on Smith about ¼ mi. to the Park gate. Call (451-1256) or email for more information.