Blue Spring State Park was closed from mid-March to mid-May due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are happy to report that the park is back open to swimming, day use activities, camping and paddling with social distancing guidelines in place. We hope everyone has been staying safe!
By Candia Flasch & Cora Berchem
Membership to all current Friends of Blue Spring Members has been extended an additional 6 months to make up for the time that our members were unable to visit the park.
We appreciate all our active members, who continue renewing their memberships and help contribute towards the park. We are facing some changes and challenges related to COVID-19 and the group activities for our members are currently under review.
If your membership has lapsed or you have not yet joined, now is a great time! Individual memberships are $15/year and family memberships are $25/year which includes 12 free park visits per year as well as access to our member-only events.
At this time the membership sub-committee is exploring the possibility of issuing membership cards through our online system. In the meantime, if your address is included with your membership information, your membership card will be mailed to you. All other cards will be held at the ranger station.
A FOND FAREWELL TO RON WOXBERG
By Missy Gibbs
This summer, we bade a fond farewell to Ron Woxberg, when he retired from his parks career as the owner and operator of St. Johns River Cruises. When the Friends was founded in 2004, Ron was one of the original members, and eventually served as president of the Friends for over 10 years. Ron has been a tireless & cheerful volunteer at all Friends-sponsored events (often along with his wife Winkie), is an incredibly knowledgeable river naturalist, talented photographer, and an on-sight resource & friend that we will miss. We hope to see him at occasional Friends events, but also wish him a relaxing “retirement”.
MANATEES AT THE PARK DURING SUMMER TIME
By Cora Berchem & Donna Rousseau
During the summer months when the spring run is open to swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, tubing and paddling, some manatees stop by to check out the spring run as well. It’s important to keep a few things in mind to have a positive experience when encountering a manatee in the wild.
- Observe the manatee from a distance. When on a kayak, try to stay at least 2 kayak lengths away from the manatee. When swimming, give it at least 50 feet of space
- Let the manatee be a manatee and don’t alter its natural behavior
- Stay still and quiet and avoid loud noises and splashing
- Take pictures of the manatee from a distance
- Ride, chase, poke, touch or harass the manatee in any way. Anything that alters the manatee’s natural behavior is considered harassment and can result in punishment
- Separate a mother from her calf. Calves depend on their mothers for up to 2 years before being weaned
- Lure the manatee towards your kayak, canoe or paddle board or give it food or water.
- If the manatee comes up to you, let it do its thing, but try not to encourage the “friendly” behavior. Manatees who are habituated to people lose their natural fear which can result in them approaching motorboats and being hit or killed.
Blue Spring State Park has a Manatee Observer Volunteer Program, which runs between the months of April – November. Volunteers can assist park staff by monitoring manatees from the boardwalk or a kayak and educate visitors. Mandatory training is offered each year in the spring. For more information contact Donna at Donna.Fitzpatrick@dep.state.fl.us
BLUE SPRING STATE PARK RANGER STATION UPGRADES
By Darrell Thomas
Thanks to the generous donation from the Friends of Blue spring State Park, the Ranger Station at the park entrance has received some major upgrades. A courtesy window has been added to allow the rangers to interact with the public without being exposed to the elements. This window will also allow park staff to keep the entrance door shut, reducing the strain on the air conditioning unit. Some of the other upgrades include new cabinetry and counters, new flooring, new shelving, new office furniture, and the repainting of the entire interior of the building.
The new environment creates a pleasant atmosphere for the park staff. Projects like these are supported through the membership dues and fundraising efforts from the Friends of Blue Spring State Park.
the renovated interior of the ranger station includes new flooring, new countertops and new cabinets.
STAY TUNED FOR UPCOMING "MEMBER ONLY" EVENTS
Admission to "Members Only" events is included in the yearly membership fee!
This year the Florida State Parks are celebrating their 86th anniversary! Stay tuned for upcoming events and programs at Blue Spring throughout the year!
WHO WE ARE
The Friends of Blue Spring is a non-profit Citizen Support Organization (CSO) dedicated to generate additional support for Blue Spring State Park. The funds we raise can provide additional equipment, buildings, programs and renovations according to the needs of the park. You can find our meeting agendas here.
Joining the Friends helps to ensure Blue Spring State Park remains a fun, interesting, educational, and beautiful place to visit! We have monthly meetings every second Monday of the month at 6 p.m. in the Admin Building at Blue Spring State Park.
NOT A MEMBER YET? JOIN US
Memberships are $15/year for individuals and $25/year for families and include 12 free visits to Blue Spring State Park per year.
Questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Friends of Blue Spring State Park
2100 W French Avenue, Orange City, FL 32763.
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