Watch YouTube video of Friends of the Carlton Activities

(see link below)



 Volunteer Sign-up with Sarasota County: Sarasota County requires that all volunteers register and be interviewed by the land manager who assigns and supervises tasks. Apply here.

Volunteer work days:

To be announced, usually 9:00 a.m.until noon

(summer rains often prevent trail, public area work June-Sept.)


    Summer schedule varies via e-mail to registered volunteers


Come join us helping maintain the public area and trails throughout the Carlton Reserve. Our tasks vary each week depending on the needs. Typically we 

     1. maintain colored loop trails and markers in public area (pink, yellow, blue, red, green and orange, light blue)

    2. place and maintain numbered trail markers in 25000 acre reserve 

    3. remove debris and minor clearing/trimming from all trails, entry and exit roads, cabin and picnic areas, youth camps, parking lot, information kiosks, and kayak launch.

    4. Maintain the cabin--regular sweeping and dusting.


Guides needed for biking and/or hiking tours of varying lengths and difficulty. 

Visitors Center /Cabin

 Volunteers are always needed to help “Man” the cabin to provide information and maps to visitors.


Chapter Update--recent events

Volunteers assist conduct educational programs on subjects such as Carlton history, invasive and native plants, wildlife monitoring, birding, photography, local geology and hydrology, raptors of the Carlton, butterflies of the Carlton.


Special Events--Tour de Parks

Volunteers from Friends of the Carlton, with help from several chapters, have assisted Friends of Legacy Trail with parking at the train station for the Tour De Parks event.

Public Education

FOCR registered volunteers have conducted several of Sarasota County Natural Resources’ public outings including Silent walks, Newcomers walks, Family Bike Rides, Curious About the Carlton Walks, Strenuous rides, evening hayrides, guided birding outings. There have been special hayrides for birding, native plant identification, and Girl Scouts.


An FOCR guide has met with the members of the CIVICS 101 class for tours of the Carlton.


FOCR assisted with helmet fittings for “Back to School With Hope“ program.


FOCR members met 1st and 5th graders from Gulf Gate Elementary School and gave them a tour of the Carlton with lessons on Carlton flora, fauna and history.


FOCR members helped a McIntosh Middle School teacher with a Selby grant to bring 106 7th grade science students to the Carlton where they were did a science "treasure hunt"--navigating their way with GPS units to 10 stations to learn about raptors, teptiles, fossils, invasive plants, fire management, wilderness survival, wildlife parasites and panthers.


FOCR members met with State College of Florida students taking Biology and suggested projects  to assist Sarasota County land management at Caspersen Beach. Students worked on water quality and tortoise monitoring projects. 


Volunteers regularly manned the visitor’s cabin, printed and distributed maps, filled public information kiosks, answered questions.


FOCR created a new Florida panther page on their a website . The downloadable trail map was updated as well as photo galleries, the calendar of sponsored events, and wilderness related resources. 


FOCR met with Florida Panther Project to provide artifacts (cast of panther tracks) for County Fair booth.


FOCR manned a display booth with video and panther display at the 2 day Venice Expo sponsored by Venice Kiwanis.


Maintenance Summary

Friends supported the Reserve operations after loss of maintenance staff. On a weekly and sometimes daily basis volunteers  

1. removed fireload debris from the public area and debris from trails

2. removed dumped engine block, newstand, tires, shipping pallets 

3. repaired fencing and barricades

4. inventoried, organized, sharpened  and repaired power equipment

5. helped secure gates and parking lots after hours by placing signs and security camera and monitoring other secruity issues with help of sheriffs department

6. moved fill dirt to maintain public trails

 7. cleaned up litter, removed barbed wire, raked leaves from roofs of historic  buildings at Cowboy Camp.

8. placed informational signs at the entrance, kayak launch and equestrian parking lot.

9. maintained trail markers in the back country

10.Provided assistance to campers during bad weather and mechanical assistance to bike riders.

 Wildlife Cameras

Friends relocate and maintain batteries and memory cards in the 6 trail cameras they now own and deploy throughout the Reseve.

We enter all photos into a spreadsheet, archive selected photos and provide County staff with data analysis of GPS location, species, number, sex, age, and trends.


 Special Project: Saving the Giant Air Plant

Friends participate in a program to help save the tillandsia utriculata which is now endangered due to attack by an invasive weevil from Mexico. More can be found on the Invasives page.


Kayak Launch 

Friends maintain the free kayak launch, parking area, gate, signage and barricades. We spotcheck riverbanks from Border Rd. to MRSP border to help prevent poaching, dumping, illegal camping, vandalism.


Entrance Landscaping

“Plants For Your Park” , sponsored by Friends of Legacy Trail to help up to 10 chapters “spruce up” their parks.

Tom Obermeier with other volunteers landscaped the entrance with the goal of minimizing continued maintenance by

  1.  weeding and trimming the entrance sign area 
  2.  laying down porous weed barrier, 
  3.  mulching with pine needles raked from the Carlton Reserve
  4. adding plants indigenous to the Carlton
  5. providing water for new plantings until rains began








Website & Info:


Park Naturalist

Meghan Harris Meyer



Link to searchable U.S. map resources with parks, trails, campgrounds, historical sites, marinas, etc.



Sarasota County

Field Guide

to Conservation Lands

(download 64pp. PDF)

Field Guide.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 3.8 MB



Friends of Carlton Reserve

is a chapter of  FOSCP   

not for profit corp.