Friends of Paynes Prairie

Friends of Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
Park
Our story

We support the mission, programs and goals of Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park through fundraising, outreach, education and volunteerism. We carry out a range of support activities from the payment of dues and contributions to the presentation of major special events.

We work with park staff to promote Paynes Prairie by means of community activities, resource management, education and visitor services. 

The Friends of Paynes Prairie was organized in 1985 as a result of a conversation between Carl Lipsius and then Park Manager, Jack Gillen. Lipsius and Gillen, in the company of Frank Saier, Ed Johnson, William Mauzy, Mark Barrow and David Flagg, recognized a need to help the preserve to procure support and equipment.

The organization was incorporated under Florida Not-For-Profit Corporation statutes early in 1986, and in 2004 became a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation.

The Friends of Paynes Prairie, Inc. has flourished as an organization, growing from fewer than 30 members in 2003, to over 450 in 2011.

Available funding has grown as well and many features now seen in the park were sponsored in part by the Friends.

The Friends has been active in many projects over the years, including the La Chua Trail interpretive booth, extensive visitor center improvements, operating the visitor center bookstore, supporting ranger-led programs and volunteer recognition, receiving grants and providing an outreach booth at numerous community events.

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