What we do: The Friends of Itasca State Park participate in volunteer activities and raise funds for park projects such as interpretive signs; restoration of the original wicker furniture in Douglas Lodge; playground equipment in the picnic area, campgrounds and Douglas Lodge; preservation of historic park photographs; purchase of a defibrillator; a fishing pier located on Lake Ozawindib and benches along the bicycle trail. Every year the Friends contribute more than $1,000 to sponsor presenters for the popular Presenters Under the Pines and Music Under the Pines programs.
In 2018, with support from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and a $5,000 grant from the Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota, the Friends assembled 440 tree cages. The Friends and other volunteers placed the cages around young red pine, white pine and jack pine to keep deer from damaging the trees allowing for quicker and healthier growth.
As part of the 125th anniversary of Itasca State Park, the Friends established a fund at the Northwest Minnesota Foundation. Information regarding this fund is at www.nwmf.org.
Why give: More than 550,000 visitors from around the planet visit Itasca State Park annually. Some are on a pilgrimage to visit the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Others are inspired by the old growth pines, crystal clear lakes, wildlife and recreational and educational opportunities. The Friends are committed to improving the experience for all.