The Friends of Blue Spring State Park is a Non-Profit 501(C)3 Citizen Support Organization (CSO) of volunteers dedicated to helping ensure Blue Spring State Park remains a fun, interesting, educational, and beautiful place to visit! We provide support to the park through volunteering, educating visitors, hosting events and raising funds for specific park projects. The funds we raise can provide additional equipment, buildings, programs, and renovations according to the needs of the park.
Learn more in this overview: About Us.pdf
Read more in our 2021 Letter from our president Melissa Gibbs.
Blue Spring State Park is a vitally important warm-water winter sanctuary for the threatened Florida manatee in the Upper St. John's River. A number of manatees are rescued from Blue Spring State Park each year as part of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP) for various causes such as boat strikes, entanglements, cold stress, or other issues. After successful rehabilitation, many manatees are re-released at Blue Spring State Park. The current location to do so needs major upgrades to make this process as safe as possible for both staff as well as the manatees. Currently, the manatee staging area is the old canoe beach, which has eroded to the point that there is frequently no beach at all. Access to this beach is currently an old, narrow, winding boardwalk, with steep wooden steps. A wide, shallow ramp, in a straight line, potentially with very shallow steps, would make this much easier and safer for humans and manatees. Manatee rescues and releases are of great interest to the public and always draw a crowd. The current old canoe beach is somewhat derelict in appearance, especially for one of the highest-density manatee winter refuges. A well-designed staging area with interpretive displays would be ideal. The new area would provide an outreach opportunity for interpretation/education about rescues, manatees, and the partnerships that help keep them safe. The Friends of Blue Spring State Park are working with many partners to make this project a reality! And you can help! Make a tax-deductible donation today to support this important project.
Some of our recent projects include the renovation of the ranger station at the park entrance (2020), purchase of a shed to store firewood (2019), trail cameras for the park to help with wildlife monitoring, purchase of an antenna to improve communication within the park (2018), new artwork for the park's cabins, assistance with the Blue Spring Manatee Festival and improvements to the volunteer village.
We are also expanding our participation in events and members-only events (once safely possible with the pandemic). For the past years, we offered Firefly Walks during the spring when thousands of fireflies show up at the park, Wildlife and Manatee Walk & Talk tour with wildlife experts, Scrubjay walks, and more. Proceeds from our events help with park improvements.