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Friends of Paynes Prairie

Friends of Paynes Prairie, Inc

The Friends of Paynes Prairie Inc. is a Citizens Support Organization (CSO) for Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park.

Together We Make a Difference!

Mission Statement

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.

We support the mission of the park by:

  • Conducting programs and activities at the Park and in the community
  • We raise funds and receive grants, gifts, and bequests for the benefit of Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park and the Florida Park System as defined by Park management and the Unit Management Plan.
  • We fund park infrastructure, boardwalks, interpretive walks, sponsor special events, provide visitor tours and presentation, enhance universal access to natural and cultural resources, purchase vehicles, equipment, and supplies

In FY 2012-13, 84 Citizens Support Organizations (CSO's) statewide provided over 27,000 volunteers who contributed 1.3 million hours of service to Florida State Parks. Those volunteers are the equivalent of 644 Full Time Employees and are 61% of the park service's workers. Those volunteers assist with visitors services,maintenance, protection, resource management, and administration.

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park's role in the local economy

  • We welcomed 278,453 visitors in FY 2012-13 with 74% from outside Alachua County.
  • The direct economic benefit of Paynes Prairie is over $10 million annually. 
  • Our local volunteers put in 20,395 hours last fiscal year which, in terms of dollars, translates to $451,561.
  • 164.5 jobs are provided to the Alachua County economy by Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. 

History of the the Friends of Paynes Prairie

The Friends of Paynes Prairie was organized in 1985 as a result of a conversation between Carl Lipsius and 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 not available through normal State channels. 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 Primitive Arts Festival, the La Chua Trail interpretive booth, the Art On the Prairie programs, other events at the Visitors Center, the weekly Union Street Farmers Market in downtown Gainesville, and the development of a grant to re-design the Visitors Center.




Contact Us

Visitors Center - 352-466-4100
Ranger Station - 352-466-3397

Friends of Paynes Prairie
100 Savannah Boulevard
Micanopy, FL 32667

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