Friends of Smith Mountain Lake State Park
Monday, June 24, 2024
The Friends of Smith Mountain Lake State Park is a friendly, diverse, and talented group.  You need not be a nature expert to contribute your talents.  Below are some of the many ways you can contribute to the organization.
BOAT TOURS - Jet Lawler

In the summer of 2012, a pilot program was introduced to offer an opportunity for park visitors to experience being on the lake.  Our park Interpreter and a Friends Captain conducted excursions using a pontoon boat, providing exploration of the lake, nature and the environment. This successful program was continued during the summer of 2013. The Friends have now purchased the boat which will be officially turned over to the State Park on October 11, 2014.  For further details see the Tour Boat link on this site and our Facebook page.


TRAIL CLEANUP - Martha Kuon  
Volunteers help maintain the 12 miles of trails monthly on the first and third Thursdays.  Additional Park trail information is available here.

             Donna Gearhart 
In association with the Virginia State Adopt a Highway program the Friends periodically clean about two miles of the highway leading into the park.                                                                                
           CHILDREN’S READING PROGRAM – Janis Erickson

With the over 100 children staying with their families at the park every week all summer, the Friends of Smith Mountain Lake State Park want to encourage children to read during their visit. The Friends make available both new and used children’s reading books for sale at a very low cost.  Campers will find at the Visitors Center, a good selection of children’s new books, displayed by reading level, as well as a wide selection of used books.    New books are offered at wholesale prices with used books selling for less than a dollar.  Displays remind parents of a child’s need to read.  The Friends goal is to keep the children reading during the summer so as to maintain their reading proficiency.  Any funds collected from the sale of books will be used to supply more books and help pay for children’s summer interpretive programs. The program began in 2011.  At the end of the 2013 summer season, a total of 1,338 books were put in the hands of children.

HAYRIDES - Diana Brennan
Park Naturalists conduct hayrides every Tuesday during the summer.  The hayridesare about an hour long, and the Friends provide the tractor driver and usually a person to ride on the hay wagon to assist passengers.

Volunteers  assist Jet Lawlor, the Park Interpreter in various seasonal activities focused on children in nature.  They work to increase knowledge and awareness of the opportunities and responsibilities in the great outdoors as well as encouraging a love of nature in young and old alike.
This committee is composed mainly of members who are interested in gardening and just wish to help the park and to learn.  Hands on experience is the best way to learn and also to pick up gardening tips from other volunteers.  The Friends members maintain the gardens surrounding the Discovery Center including winter and spring cleanup days.  Mulching, weeding, pruning, and planting are important parts of the maintenance.  No set days are set for garden maintenance.  When the need arises, the call for help goes out and anyone who is willing and able to help is welcome.  It is always lots of fun and very rewarding.
LECTURE SERIES - Catherine Eubank

Friends sponsor a series of four lectures on the first Sunday of each month from January through April.  The 2015 lectures include the topics:   "The Coyote in Virginia: Non-Native or Naturalized Citizen";  "A Visit to Old Appomattox with County Clerk George Peers"; "Red Clay, Green Hills, Blue Water: A Brief Geologic History of Virginia"; "The World of George C. Marshall". For more detailed information about the Winter Lecture Series click here.

                                                 RAY JUDD MUSIC IN THE PARK 
Volunteers schedule, publicize, and present an interesting variety of bands on the fourth Saturday of the month.  An admission fee of $7 per person over age 12 is collected and volunteers sell snacks.
This fishing tournament is for ages 14 and under.  Trophies are given for different age groups along with prizes donated by various merchants in the area.  Park friends volunteer to register the children, weigh the fish, cook the lunch, and help where needed during the tournament. 
The Friends assist Bedford County Parks and Recreation on the first Saturday in June in conducting a Youth Fishing Clinic.  Volunteers guide and assist groups of children ages six to thirteen through a series of stations designed to teach the children about the lake and how to fish.
More Ways to Volunteer
Every year the Friends host an Easter egg hunt on the Saturday before Easter and a Halloween Party on the Saturday before Halloween. 
We support the Park in matters of legislative interest and assist at special Park events.
Each summer a crew of teenage volunteers work at Smith Mountain Lake State Park under the auspices of the Virginia Youth Conservation Corps (YCC).  The Friends host a welcome picnic for the group and sometimes additionally volunteer to host the group at their home.