John D. MacArthur Beach State Park is a model public-private partnership. Owned by the State of Florida, the staff and daily needs of the Park are funded by the State. A Park Manager, along with Park Rangers and Park Service Specialists, are fully responsible for the Park’s management and many of the recreational and instructional programs offered at the Park. Park staff also has the vital responsibility of preserving and protecting the Park’s wonderful natural resources for the public’s benefit and enjoyment.
Since its founding in 1990, the Friends of MacArthur Beach State Park has enriched and enhanced the Park by soliciting donations, seeking volunteers, raising funds, and holding special events. In addition the Friends operates the Park’s gift shop. All funds raised by the Friends support the Park, making a visit more educational, memorable and fun.
In partnership, the Park and Friends have made some impressive achievements always with the central goal of offering the most enjoyable and beneficial experience to all who visit. The Park’s picnic pavilions, trams, playground, kayak fleet, amphitheatre, nature exhibits and volunteer program have been the result of this distinctive union of efforts. From 2007 to 2009 the Friends conducted a Capital Campaign, raising $1,216,000 which was matched by $840,000 State of Florida funds. These monies have been used to build the Pew Family Natural Science Education Center, a new Beach Outfitters Gift Shop and to completely renovate the Nature Center with new interpretive exhibits. In order to expand the science education programs offered by the Park staff, the Friends has hired a Director of Education, who is working fulltime on science education programs for children and adults.
In 2011, recognizing the need to fund science education programs at the Park, the Board of the Friends has launched a new fundraising “crusade”. With the apt theme “Give the Gift of Nature”, the campaign’s goal is to establish an educational endowment which will permanently fund teaching staff at the Pew Family Natural Science Education Classroom. Donations to this fund will double the capacity and enhance the quality of science education for students throughout Palm Beach County.