"You don't have to spend a lot of time here to know this is a beautiful place." -Andy Morrison
Punderson State Park, tucked in a curve along state Route 87 in Newbury Township, boasts acres of woods, fishing and boating facilities, and a historic — even possibly haunted — manor house.
But it needs volunteers to help raise funds so campers and outdoors-oriented visitors can continue to enjoy its mission, said Friends of Punderson State Park President Andy Morrison.
The friends of Punderson is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the park and surrounding region, as well as holding events and bringing new activities to the park, Morrison said.
“Over the last few years, the group has had some difficult times and we are trying to keep the group together and get more people and community members involved,” he added.
The organization began in 2005 and consists of four board officers and about four to six members. Funding from the state has been declining and park infrastructure needs to be maintained, Morrison said.
“Some group members moved away, as well as campground hosts,” he added.
Despite the reduced numbers, the group helped fund the construction of a disc golf course in March 2009.
“You don’t have to spend a lot of time here to know this is a beautiful place,” Morrison said.
Other areas improved by friends of Punderson contributions included a nature center near the camp check-in station. The group also supports an annual fishing derby in April, thanks to a $500 grant, he said.
In the future, friends of Punderson wants to host a Halloween campout weekend. Right now, it is putting out fliers and questionnaires in the park to gauge reaction, Morrison said.
The group will host a Benefit Dinner & Raffle at the Punderson Manor on Nov. 15 as well. The public is invited.
“We’re doing what we can to get new members,” he said.
If all goes well, the friends of Punderson may be able to help fund improvements to the current disc golf course, such as a larger parking lot, a pavilion with electrical hookup and a 140-foot dock that will lead to an island in a nearby lake.
The island could become part of the existing course as a target and tee-off point.
Some former and current members of the group even re-did the signs, streetposts and trail markers in 2007, Morrison added.
Secretary Kathleen Shue is a Newbury resident and said both the park and the friends organization has a special place in her life.
“The friends of Punderson enables local community members and those passionate about what the park has to offer to help enhance it and make it a place for others to experience what they love,” Shue said. “However, it takes passionate and dedicated people to make these things happen and the group can only get better as more people become involved.”
For more information, visit http://friendsofpunderson.com or e-mail Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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