In the early part of 2010, the State announced that because of budget cuts they wouldn’t be opening Palmetto Island State Park. On June 14, at the request of the Rotary Club, Vermilion Parish Tourist Commission and Vermilion Chamber of Commerce the park was opened to the public for a quick ‘peek’. From that event, a petition with over 1,000 signatures was sent to Baton Rouge by the community. On October 28, 2010, Palmetto Island State Park opened to patrons. The people's voices were heard. In February of 2011 a small founding group of seven people, who wholeheartedly wanted Palmetto Island State Park to remain open for everyone to enjoy came together for the first time. From those meetings Friends of Palmetto Island State Park, Inc. was formed and this mission that was born:
“… to enhance the use and enjoyment of the Palmetto Island State Park for the people of Vermilion Parish, the State of Louisiana and all its visitors. More specifically, to create greater visibility of community support and in hope that such support, will protect and or mitigate against unnecessary budget reductions that may result in the closing of Palmetto Island State Park. To fulfill this mission, FPISP shall generate and create additional resources, through gifts of time, money or in kind, all in support for and in the best interest of PISP through an unlimited variety of events and activities not inconsistent with the rights of a non-profit organization…but not necessarily limited to the following:…. enhancement projects, fundraising activities, etc. and in general to help support, enhance and expand upon the attractiveness of the park, its programs, activities and purpose….”
We are not State employees. We do not manage or operate the park. We are a separate entity. A group of passionate, dedicated community volunteers, who work closely with park staff and directly communicate with the Park Manager. We operate through a set of by-laws and a defined and cooperative agreement with Office of State Parks.
We create fun activities and programs for patrons. We have made repairs, improvements and additions to park amenities. We do a lot of promoting and advertising. Thanks to our members, donors and patrons, Friends often has the funding to help the park when an emergency maintenance situation arises and their funding has been depleted for that fiscal year. We have in the past purchased miscellaneous or maintenance items to help keep park in top shape. To date, our support has been ‘in-kind’ in nature. We don’t give money to Office of State Parks. We negotiate all purchases and in-kind donations through Park staff to ensure that our activities are in line with the state park system. So when you become a member, sponsor an event or project or make a donation of your time or resources, you can do so knowing that local people who know and love the park are directly involved in making the choices as to how any of the money we raise is spent and our time and resources are utilized.
Consider Friends of Palmetto Island your ‘Community Connection’ to the park. We work hard to keep you up to date on what’s going on. We keep our Facebook page and website current and up-to-date. We publish a monthly electronic newsletter. You can subscribe below. We are volunteers! The majority of our efforts are spent creating programs and events for you to enjoy. We understand that attendance is what keeps a state park open. We host these programs and events because we want YOU and everyone else to visit Palmetto Island State Park. We hope you’ll be glad that you did and become a repeat visitor! Your visit positively impacts the park, our community, parish and state. This is South Louisiana, everyone is invited! We listen to your ideas and suggestions when you visit with us. We are always looking for ways to enhance your stay at Palmetto Island State Park. As a non-profit, we also do a little fundraising. Your tax deductible donations are always welcome! Donate here.