In 1987, fans of De Leon Springs State Recreation Area joined to form a Citizens’ Support Organization known as Friends of De Leon Springs State Park, Inc. The Friends of De Leon Springs State Park operates under a written agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Our role is to encourage historical, educational and ecological enhancement within the park.
The Friends’ role is to support the park and to provide supplemental funding for purchasing equipment, making improvements to buildings, developing exhibits and providing enhancements that improve the visitors’ experience. We work with other organizations, such as the De Leon Springs Garden Club, to build a shelter for large artifacts and to maintain the Butterfly Garden. Assistance was also provided to the Florida Trails Association to develop the Wild Persimmon Trail, a four mile hiking trail.
Our showcase project is the park’s Visitor Center. It features displays of artifacts found in and around the spring, as well as exhibits and DVD presentations interpreting the park’s 6,000 year history and its natural resources. In 2007, the Visitor Center renovation project was awarded the statewide CSO Project of the Year.
We sponsor several special events at the park, including the Kids’ Cane Pole Fishing Tournament, and the Day in Florida History, the Haunted Trails at Halloween and the Spring Festival.