Friends Of Carlton Reserve

11/13/2023 Minutes, Dan Hamari, Sec./Treas.  

Carlton Reserve Pavilion at 4:00 p.m. Attendees were: Joyce Adams, Jim Bencivenga, Paul Carlson, Jim Cranston, Dan Hamari, Richard Hullett, Randy Hurley, Linda Lovallo, Meghan Meyer, Tom Moralee, Tom Obermeier, Jeff Povolny, Terri Roberts, Steve Roberts, Lynn Scott, Sherm Stratton, Jimmy Van Sise, Danny Williams. 


Linda Lovallo led the meeting and asked officers and all those in attendance to introduce themselves.


Treasurer’s Report. Dan Hamari (Secretary/ Treasurer) reported the fiscal year end balance of the FCR was $13,763.13. This represents an increase of $167.03 over the previous year. Expenditures were $1,540.49 and were primarily for paint (field markers and bathrooms), office supplies, kiosk repair, and purchase of battery powered landscape tools. Revenues was $1707.52 and consisted of $1307.52 of dues and miscellaneous donations and $400.00 from the donation jar at the visitors cabin. Dan Hamari discussed a possible change in our dues collection schedule to coincide with the Giving Challenge which is held every other year and matches all donations between $25.00 - $100.00. We would ask members to donate a minimum of $25.00 every other year during the Challenge. This would cover the members dues for two years, reduce the amount of time soliciting and collecting dues, and potentially double the amount raised by FCR. It was agreed we should proceed with this change and the Board will finalize details before the Giving Challenge in April, 2024. 


Tom Obermeier and Randy Hurley from SCORR (Sarasota County Off Road Riders) gave an update on the single track trails in the Carlton Reserve. As of November 13th the Boldly Go trail has been mowed and cleaned up. There is a work day scheduled for Saturday Nov. 18th on the trails in the Lincer Preserve. Linda will email FCR Members for volunteers. The annual Piggy’s Revenge ride is scheduled for January 28, 2024.


Nathalie Smith of Sarasota County Parks and Recreation gave a presentation on Cub Crawl 2024 scheduled for January 6, 2024 at the Carlton Reserve. This event is aimed at children (aged 3-9) and families. It features an obstacle course and fun animal facts for the children to learn. She asked for volunteer and financial support for the event to cover signs and stuffed animals for the participants and assistance during the event. Sign estimate is $234.00 for 2024 and they will be reusable for future events. Nathalie has already procured the stuffed animals for this year. It was moved, seconded and approved that the FCR pay for the signs and further additional expenses up to $1000.00 total as necessary per Board approval. Natalie reconfirmed she was NOT ASKING for funding except for the signs for 2024 ($234.00). Last year she provided "Certificates of Participation", but she didn't indicate a need for those supplies this time. 

She will provide us with a budget proposal for future events, with the caveat, mentioned at the meeting, that the costs of stuffed animals may change significantly from year-to-year.President’s note: Cub Crawl 2024 needs $234. (The actual cost of the signs. Excess will be held, this season, in case of incidental expenses.)


Sherm Stratton gave an update on the FCR website and indicated we continue to have good traffic with over 1000 visitors in the last 30 days and a yearly average of 22,500 visitors. He indicated the website name registration and site hosting are both coming up for renewal and asked for approval of approximately $250.00 for a two year renewal. A motion to fund these expenses for two years was made, seconded and approved.


Linda Lovallo gave a quick recap of FCR and volunteer accomplishments over the last year and the different roles each group plays. The FCR acts as a funding organization for Events held at the Carlton Reserve and acquires necessary equipment. Since 2004 the FCR has spent over $33,000.00 along with thousands of hours of volunteer work. A motion was made to establish a discretionary fund of $2,000.00 per individual item that the Board could approve and spend. The motion was seconded and approved. President’s note: Tools for Volunteers, requested $1000. (Again, excess will be held, this season, in case of incidental expenses,)


Meghan Meyer updated attendees on some of the current issues at the Carlton Reserve along with scheduled events. The burn schedule is being posted on the Sarasota County Emergency Services website. There is concern being expressed about air quality in areas adjacent to prescribed burns. This may have an impact on future ability to conduct burning. Many of the trails are being mowed currently with fire lanes being plowed also. The plow disc line is being kept off to the side as much as possible. Boundary lines are also being put on all preserves. Meghan is also hoping to have the PowerLine Road resurfaced this year. The Carlton Reserve has received some funding for exotic plant removal. All are asked to report any exotic plants found in the Carlton to Sherm Stratton who will relay to Meghan. Event Registration for Sarasota County Parks and Recreation is now online and has a searchable function which allows visitors to more easily search the website.


Questions and Comments Discussions included Border Road access in the Reserve, the need to replace the wooden bridge to Lincer Preserve, and whether hunting in Preserve areas is considered Resource Management or Extraction. 



There being no further business the Meeting was adjourned.


1/12/2023 Secretary/Treasurer Dan Hamari

Carlton Reserve Pavilion at 3:00 p.m. Attendees were: Joyce Adams, Jim Bencivenga, Karen Courtwright, Jim Courtwright, Valerie Cribb, Jean- Louis Dumaine, Dan Hamari, Jim Lombardi, Linda Lovallo, Meghan Meyer, Kevin Miller, Tom Obermeier, John Page, Kay Page, Terri Roberts, Steve Roberts, Sherm Stratton, Danny Williams.


1.) Linda Lovallo led the meeting and asked officers and all those in attendance to introduce themselves.


2.) Treasurer’s Report. 

Dan Hamari (Secretary/ Treasurer) reported the fiscal year end balance of the FCR was $13,596.10. This represents an increase of $1,653.68 over the previous fiscal year. Primary sources of income for the FCR are member dues and donations, cabin donations, and the Giving Challenge which is held every other year.

In 2022 the Giving Challenge resulted in $1924.58 in total income with fourteen checks representing eighteen individuals.

Expenditures  booked in fiscal 2022 were $2,215.86. These were in support of the Giant Air Plant program ($147.28), the Camera Program ($1,660.98), Carlton website ($220.00), Mailings, stamps, Misc. ($182.70).

Dues Reminders for 2023 have not been sent out yet but will be mailed shortly.


3.) Meghan Meyer updated everyone on the current status of the Carlton Reserve and upcoming events. The Cub Crawl is scheduled for January 21, 2023. Several members indicated information regarding this event was difficult to access on the internet which may be limiting potential attendance. FireFest is scheduled for January 28, 2023 and will again be held in the fields adjacent to the entrance road. Anybody still interested in volunteering should contact

Meghan thanked all volunteers who helped get the Carlton open on January 3rd. She indicated most of the major clean up was completed in the public access area but that work in the remote area would be ongoing for awhile. The kayak/ canoe launch on the Myakka River remains closed due to hazardous broken trees and limbs and restrictions on removal of those hazards from a Wild and Scenic River.

Meghan also addressed questions about electric bikes in the Reserve ( There are no restrictions except a speed limit of 15 mph). Several members indicated they preferred that there be no restrictions and that all bikers regardless of mode must be courteous and aware of the impact on their surroundings. The USDA program of pig removal through authorized shooting continues. Meghan indicated there may be an aerial shooting event in February that would force the closing of the Reserve for several days.  She would like to limit the area closed but a final decision has not been made.


4.) Linda suggested the Current Officers continue for an additional year if there were no objections or members who wanted to run for an office. There being no objections and no members in attendance who desired to run it was unanimously voted to have the current officers continue in their positions.


5.) Linda recapped volunteer activities within the Carlton and presented Certificates of Appreciation to those volunteers who were present who had helped in expediting the opening after Hurricane Ian.

Volunteer and FCR highlights were coordinating with SCORR for trail cleanup bathroom cleaning and repainting. Other accomplishments were cabin cleanup, zigzag Bulletin Board rebuilding, painting of signage, traffic stops, trip lines, gates, posts and bollards throughout the park, assisting in monitoring illegal activities on Myakka River, documenting invasive plant locations and documenting status of endangered Giant Air Plants within The Carlton. Also noted was the addition of 12 new members for FCR and 12 new volunteers.


6. Tom Obermeier from SCORR updated the Piggy’s Revenge Trail Ride to be held in the Carlton on January 29, 2023. The event is completely sold out with 350 participants. Tom indicated SCORR was looking for ways to spend the proceeds for improvements within the Carlton.

He also stated all single track trails were open but there was further maintenance work which needed to be done. Additional volunteer collaboration workdays with SCORR will be held.


7.) New Business

Sherm Stratton asked that we recognize the significant contributions the SCORR group made that resulted in the reopening of the Carlton on January 3rd. He also asked we recognize Meghan Meyer for her hard work and assistance in coordinating the volunteers work.

Linda asked that everyone think about the two programs we currently fund (the Giant Air Plant and Camera Programs).We are looking for ways to make these programs even more successful with greater impact.

A date for the next meeting has not been scheduled.

There being no more business the meeting adjourned at 4:30.



4/15/ 2022 Minutes by Vice President, Jim Lombardi

Emergency/Special meeting of the Friends of Carlton Reserve was attended by Jim Bencivenga, Beth Branson, Jean-Louis Dumaine, Dan Hamari, Jim Lombardi,  Linda Lovallo, Steve Roberts, Terri Roberts and Sherm Stratton. (Jim Lombardi acted as secretary. A quorum was present.)


The only item on the agenda was to have an election to re-fill the position, after resignation, of FCR Secretary/Treasurer.


Dan Hamari had offered to step into the office for the rest of this term.

A short discussion followed including the need for FCR officers to meet with Meghan as soon as possible, an eventual review/revision of FCR’s By-laws and the upcoming Giving Challenge from noon, April 26th until noon, April 27th.


A motion was made to elect Dan Hamari as FCR Secretary/Treasurer. He was voted into office unanimously. The meeting was adjourned at 10:45 am.

The next regular meeting of FCR will be in the Fall of 2022.


Thank you for your continued support! 

Linda, Jim and Dan


Friends of the Carlton Reserve Officers:

Linda Lovallo - President, 

Jim Lombardi - Vice-President, 

Dan Hamari - Secretary/Treasurer


3/15/2022 Minutes by Secretary/Treasurer,  Martin Siesta

The March 15, 2022 meeting of the Friends of Carlton Reserve (FCR) was attended by Jim Bencivenga, Paul Carlson, Jim Courtright, Donna Day, Jean-Louis Dumaine, Russ Johnson, Jim Lombardi, Linda Lovallo, John Lunger, Sally Meyers, Jeff Povolny, Chris Rioux, Steve Roberts, Terri Roberts, Martin Siesta, Art Smith, Sherm Stratton, Robin Switzer, Danny Williams and Ernie Winn.


Jim Courtright led the meeting.  Because of an active fire, Meghan Meyer was unable to attend.


Art Smith reviewed the “You Are Here” sign program.  The current number of 12 maps is being increased to 18.  The request for six more electronic files of maps has been submitted to County GIS and is in process.


The election of officers then began.  Linda Lovallo asked that her name be added to the list of candidates as President and that she be allowed to make a short presentation.  After the short presentation, paper ballots were distributed and subsequently tallied.  The results are as follows:


President – Linda Lovallo

Vice President – Jim Lombardi

Secretary/Treasurer – Martin Siesta


The Wildlife Monitoring Program (Camera Program) is running well.  However, the equipment is aging, and new features make replacements desirable.  A motion was made and unanimously approved to authorize spending up to $1,500 on needed new equipment.


Donna reviewed some aspects of the Giant Air Plant program.  In general progress is being made.  Previously, $2,000 had been approved to replace the cage lost in the fire.  The holdup has been in finding good plans for the next cage.  It was agreed that FCR volunteers would create such a plan for the next cage.  When the plan is agreed upon, regular FCR volunteers, paid carpenters or volunteer schools or boy scouts might build the cage.


Art said that the Tuesday Tasking crew had worked to minimize pig damage on the trails.  There is no major problem to attack right now.  The County (particularly Igor) had more than stayed on top of day-to-day issues.  With limited tools to use and the rainy season coming, each week will be questionable for the Tuesday Tasking crew in the near future.


Sherm also complimented the County on its work in the Carlton.  The volunteers and visitors provide eyes on problems.  When those problems are identified, they are passed on to the County and usually handled quickly.  Sherm passed out a packet of seven pages of pictures and activities listing accomplishments.  The teamwork is producing results.


After the regular meeting, Linda was asked if she had anything to add.  She said that she had been working on the “Z” bulletin board in front of the cabin.  Moisture inside the bulletin board (likely caused by condensation and not a leaky roof) had destroyed the cushions on the stick pin side.  The corrective plan for the entire unit would include buying thin carpeting in rolls.  A motion was made and unanimously passed to spend up to $500 on supplies for repairing the bulletin board.


No future meeting was planned at this time.


11/22/21  Minutes by Secretary, Russ Johnson 

The November 22, 2021 meeting of the Friends of Carlton Reserve (FCR) was attended by Pam Cooper, Dave Cottrill, Mary-Ann Cottrill, Jim Courtright, Jim Cranston, Donna Day, Jean-Louis Dumaine, Dan Hamari, Russ Johnson, Brooke Langston, Jim Lombardi, Linda Lovallo, Meghan Meyer, Martin Siesta, Steve Simon, Art Smith, Sherm Stratton, Robin Switzer and Ernie Winn.

Jim Courtright led the meeting and asked us all to introduce ourselves.  Meghan Meyer then brought us up to date on repairing the fire damage.  The Kubota shed, the tool shed and the GAP storage cage between them as well as the pole barn were all completely destroyed by the fire that was started by lightning.  The pole barn will not be replaced.  A single new building having a footprint roughly the same as the combined previous buildings is planned.  It will be separated from trees by the space that was occupied by the pole barn (plus some tree cutting) and be a sturdier building.  The Kubota has been replaced as well as some of the tools.  They are currently being stored at the maintenance shed on the Wellfield Road.  There is also some minor sign, bench and culvert damage to be replaced.

With respect to damage caused by traffic in connection with Brian Laundrie, time and Mother Nature have pretty much solved the problem.  Planning is underway for Fire Fest on 1/29/22.  The Fire Department is bringing the pre-packaged food (following Covid protocols).  The location will be the overflow parking field.  A discussion followed regarding the reduction of pigs in this park and other parks.  Today, the USDA prohibits marketing products obtained from wild pigs.  Therefore, the pigs are slaughtered and their remains left to decompose at secluded spots.  This process occurs in just a few days.

Art Smith reviewed the “You Are Here” sign program.  It has been very popular and successful in helping people find their way in the park.  He was looking at five or six more spots for signs.  A motion was made and unanimously approved to authorize spending up to $1,000 on such additional signs.

The Wildlife Monitoring Program (Camera Program) was affected by the Brian Laundrie search.  All memory storage cards in cameras were turned over to police.  The cards were then returned, contents saved, and clean cards returned to the eleven cameras.  Donna and Ernie used the new Kubota to do this work.

Donna brought a mature Giant Air Plant to show us how big and healthy they can be.  The process of saving the plants is complex.  One of the cages was lost in the fire, and other improvements may be necessary.  A motion was made and unanimously approved to authorize spending up to $2,000 on needed cage(s) and equipment.

Art explained that the Wednesday Crew (trail maintenance and other park support) has been delayed by the loss of the Kubota and tools.  He tossed out some ideas for additional projects including a Native Plant Demonstration Garden in the Public Use Facility (PUF).  The County has several assignments on Wednesdays.  Tuesday is a better day for such a support team, and Art will consider making the team a “Tuesday Tasking” crew.

Sherm reviewed the website status.  The search for Brian Laundrie can only be described as “explosive” as far as the website is concerned.  He read off numbers of “hits” and how they grew.  There still is residual activity.  Actually, there are two websites – and

With respect to the election of officers for FCR, a nominating committee will be formed, and a slate of candidates will be submitted for members to vote on at the January 2022 meeting.


Our next meeting is anticipated to be prior to Fire Fest on 1/29/22.




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