■ BY SUE ERWIN
A public meeting to discuss the nonprofit Friends of Stump Pass is planned to take place at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 22 at the Elsie Quirk Library in Englewood.
The meeting will cover the same information that was discussed at the first meeting held in April.
The objective is to determine the level of interest residents have in forming a nonprofit organization in support of the park.
The group would be called Friends of Stump Pass and would work in part with the Barrier Island Parks Society.
Anyone who attended the prior meeting please note that it is not necessary for you to attend this meeting as well.
“This meeting will repeat the last one to give more people an opportunity to come out and learn more about what we are trying to accomplish at Stump Pass,” said Sharon McKenzie, executive director at Barrier Island Parks Society.
The goal is to create a steering committee, which would include a core group of volunteers.
“We think it’s important to integrate the new group with BIPS,” said McKenzie. “Whatever the organization raises will fund amenities and projects at the beach and park.”
The basic responsibilities volunteers would strive for in the park would be trail maintenance, cleanup and parking assistance to help park staff.
Another objective would be to add more pavilions and benches along the nature trail to provide shade for hikers, and also add more interpretive signage along the trails explaining the different kinds of plants and marking distances on the trail.
The list is long when it comes to volunteer options. Help is needed in construction, carpentry, maintenance, office help, event planning and social media – just to name a few.
“We also will need a recording secretary to write minutes from the meetings,” McKenzie said.
The 1.3 mile public Stump Pass Beach was acquired by the state in 1971 from the Department of Environmental Protection. At that time the beach had just four parking spaces and no amenities.
In 2000, with state and local funding, the state added parking spaces, restrooms and a nature trail along Lemon Bay at the southern tip of Manasota Key.
McKenzie said one person from the new organization would always serve on the BIPS board, providing updates and financial reports.
Barrier Island Parks Society is a citizen support organization that is chartered with the state to support Gasparilla Island administration. The administration includes Gasparilla Island State Park, Don Pedro State Park, Cayo Costa and Stump Pass.
The Elsie Quirk Library is located at 100 Dearborn St. in Englewood.
For more information, visit barrierislandparkssociety.org.