Friends of Ludington State Park receives national award

January 27, 2024

Friends of Ludington State Park receives national award

HAMLIN TOWNSHIP — Friends of Ludington State Park received a President’s Award from The National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD) during its 2023 annual meeting in Nevada.

The volunteer, charitable organization formed in 1992, has about 100 members and works to improve and enhance Ludington State Park.

“FLSP is a powerhouse group that has a history of going above and beyond on behalf of park users, volunteers and staff,” the award states. “Whether it be a highway clean up, mentoring another friend’s group in the state or being ‘on call’ whenever staff has a project, FLSP is always willing to volunteer and provide opportunities on how to make visiting Ludington State Park a better experience for all.”

Jim Gallie, Ludington State Park manager, and Michelle O’Kelly, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Parks Division resource and fund developer who works with Friends groups, wrote the nomination.

“The Friends of Ludington State Park is very deserving of this award,” Gallie said. “They’ve provided so much assistance with programs at the park and have helped fund some very big improvements. The warming shelter, the playground at Hamlin Lake, the Action track wheelchairs; these would have been hard to fund and install without their assistance.

“The Adopt-a-Highway and Adopt-a-Trail volunteers do a wonderful job of keeping the park looking clean. And they always have volunteers to help with events, such as the guest presenter series and lantern-lit snowshoe hikes.

“We at Ludington State Park have all known how great the Friends group is for the park. It is great to see them getting national recognition.”

More than 430 state park directors, deputy directors, operations managers, support staff and sponsors and exhibitors attended the NASPD conference in September where the award was announced.

“The FLSP board is so honored by this recognition,” FLSP President Patrick O’Hare said. “We are grateful to the DNR staff who nominated us especially since they work with many volunteer groups across the state.

“FLSP would not be able to accomplish the many park improvement projects or host programming without all of our volunteers and supporters. We are fortunate to have so many people who love the gem of the Michigan state parks as much as we do.

“We look forward to another incredible year at the Ludington State Park,” O’Hare said.