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 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 peoples 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….”
Who are Friends of Palmetto Island? ...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.
How 'Friends' support the park...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. We are sometimes able to fulfill a need the park has, when due to 'budget cuts' the state can't. 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.
What we do...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 assist in enhancing and promoting park activities and programs, because we want YOU and everyone else to visit Palmetto Island State Park. We hope you’ll be glad that you did! Your visit positively impacts the park, our community, parish and state. When you visit Palmetto Island State Park or become a member, you’re really helping us send a message to Baton Rouge. “Keep Palmetto Island State Park OPEN!”
Keeping you connected to Palmetto Island State Park!