Member Updates

Friends of Alafia

Alafia River State Park

Park Capacity Limits

Many things have happened since our last member update. The most significant of which has been the limitation on the number of visitors in the park. The DEP decided that the number of daily visitors allowed in the park at any one time could not exceed 50% of the normal daily visitation rate.

For Alafia River State Park, that number was set at 320 through the main gate. We have only seen the impact on the weekends. When the total number of visitors through the gate reaches 320, the gate is closed. After a few hours, when some of these visitors have left and the staff has had a chance to clean and sanitized the restrooms at the trailhead parking area, the gates are reopened to let more visitors in.

Events & Membership Dues

Another aspect of the COVID-19 safety measures has been the curtailing of events. When the parks reopened in May, no events could be held. In early June, DEP allowed events of no more than 10 people, which allowed small mountain biking classes to resume. We can now have events with up to 50 people, including those running the event and all helpers. This means that the types of events that bring in revenue for the Friends of Alafia — races, whether running races or bike races — are too large and, therefore, can’t be held.

The largest event of the year for the past three years has been Ragnar’s 24-hour off-road running race (the first year this was held at the park, they had better than 3,400 participants). Their 2020 race was scheduled for this December has been cancelled. Like a lot of organizations that sponsor large events all across the country, Ragnar made the difficult decision to cancel all of their remaining 2020 events. The negative impact on the park is that our major source of revenue, events, will be the smallest source of revenue this year.

Our other revenue sources are the sale of firewood and ice at the Ranger Station, membership dues, and donations. Without increased membership dues and donations, it will be a difficult challenge to continue making the park better for all visitors.

Membership Dues

Accordingly, we made the decision to increase our membership dues to be more in line with what other local organizations charge. Senior memberships are now $20, Individual memberships are now $30, and Family memberships are now $40. Member benefits remain the same, the biggest of which is free admissions (12 for senior and individual members, 24 for family members).

Visit our online membership portal to join or renew.

Park Staff Updates

On July 1st, our Park Manager for the last 4.5 years, Bryon Maxwell, became the Park Manager for the Gasparilla Island Administration which includes Gasparilla Island State Park, Cayo Costa State Park, Don Pedro State Park, and Stump Pass Beach State Park. I regret losing a great Park Manager at Alafia, but I am happy that Bryon continues to move up in the Florida Park Service management chain-of-command.

One other staff member has left as well. Ronald Stevens is now a Park Ranger at Edward Medard Conservation Park in Hillsborough County.

Interim Park Manager

Dustin Allen, the Park Manager at Paynes Creek, was designated as our interim manager.  He will be managing two parks, so he will only be at Alafia once or twice a week.  This will allow Bryon to focus on the four parks he is now the PM for.

Volunteers Needed

With only four Park Rangers, volunteers are instrumental in helping keep the park running smoothly. From cutting many acres of grass (at the campground, barn, front entrance, day use area, and northwest equestrian entrance), to trail work, to helping at the Ranger Station, the park would not be what it is without volunteers. If you are retired or self-employed where you have some flexibility in your schedule, the park could use more volunteers. If you have or know of teenagers who need community service hours for Bright Futures scholarship eligibility, we can use them as well.

The staff Volunteer Coordinator is Courtney Nott. If you can help and are interested in becoming part of the volunteer team at the park, please contact us and select the option for volunteering.

Friends of Alafia

Friends of Alafia is a nonprofit Citizen Support Organization (CSO) established to protect, preserve, and support Alafia River State Park.