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Image: Chad Spencer

Operating a park like Myakka takes enormous work—far more than paid staff could keep up with. Restrooms need to be cleaned, trails maintained, hog traps set, invasive plants controlled, cash registers manned, tractors repaired, visitors greeted—the list goes on.

Fortunately, an enthusiastic corps of volunteers is willing to pitch in. Some are locals who sign up for a few hours or days a month; others—mainly retirees—come in their campers from all over the country and live in the park for months on end. The nonprofit Friends of Myakka River (friendsofmyakkariver.org) also offers a way to support the river and the park. You can join the Friends for as little as $25 a year, and many members also volunteer at the park. Their popular Moon Over Myakka concerts raise funds for the cause and are a fun way to experience Myakka after dark. To learn more about volunteering at Myakka, call (941) 361-6511.

Concert and Event Calendar

Myakka River State Park is home not only to nature but also to a series of events sponsored by Friends of Myakka River. Check out this season’s calendar.

Sunday, Dec. 3 Third annual Myakka River Jam (aka Serge’s Stomp in the Swamp, named in honor of Florida author Tim Dorsey’s serial killer character, Serge Storms, who loves Myakka). Dorsey will be on hand for book sales; plus there’s live music and food, wine, beer and more for sale.

Friday, Jan. 5 The first of the Moon Over Myakka concerts features Alter Eagles Band, devoted to songs of the Eagles. A great setting for music outdoors in the evening, with a full moon and marshmallow roasting a plus, too.

Saturday, Jan. 27 An Evening with Tim Dorsey (author meet-and-greet and book signing)

Friday, Feb. 2 This month’s Moon Over Myakka concert features American roots music duo Moonshine Holler.

Friday, March 2 The Moon Over Myakka concert welcomes the Prestage Brothers, Ben and Jon, performing their brand of bluegrass, old-time music and more.

Friday, April 6 The final Moon Over Myakka concert of the season features acoustic performer Raiford Starke, performing a mix of country, boogie-woogie and gospel.

For more info, head to friendsofmyakkariver.org, floridastateparks.org and timdorsey.com.

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