In honor of the 30th annual National Public Lands Day (NPLD) on Saturday, September 23, entry fees will be waived at national parks and other federal public lands, including national monuments, forests, recreation areas, seashores, wildlife refuges, historical sites, battlefields, and grasslands.
National Public Lands Day is a great day for a visit, and it also is the nation’s largest single day of volunteering for parks and public lands, with 70,000 volunteers expected at federal sites as well as state and local parks.
People can find hundreds of already-planned volunteer events and other cool activities in most states, with more added every day.
The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) coordinates NPLD in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, and other federal agencies, state and local parks, and non-profits. The news release with quotes from the National Park Service and Forest Service is at https://shorturl.at/wNUZ5
Some examples among the hundreds of volunteer locations:
- Yosemite National Park: One of the largest NPLD events, the annual Facelift at Yosemite National Park is expected to draw up to 2,000 volunteers out for a park-wide clean-up. Organized by the Yosemite National Park Volunteer Office and the Yosemite Climbing Association, Facelift attracts climbers from all over the world who spend up to a week giving back to this premier climbing spot. There will be raffle prizes for volunteers, as well as evening programs including guest speakers, film screenings, live music, and more.
- Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens Join the Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Park Service, and the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) for a safe, fun trash cleanup at Kenilworth Park! Celebrate the 30th annual National Public Lands Day and make a difference for your local community and the Anacostia River as we turn to the water for a safe, healthy place to recreate outdoors.
- Mount Rainier National Park: With more than 1.5 million visitors passing through Mount Rainier National Park between Memorial Day and Labor Day, park staff rely on NPLD volunteers to spruce up the mountain after a summer of wear and tear and help get the site ready for winter. NPLD volunteers will help refurbish the park’s 260-miles of trails and restore meadowlands.
Some interesting things volunteers will do throughout the county:
- Join the battle at Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas
Volunteers are invited to join ‘The Battle of Central Arkansas,’ where they can contribute to the cleanup of Hot Springs National Park while competing for prizes awarded to the teams and individuals who collect the most trash.
- Capture fall colors for science in Wisconsin
Participants will embark on the Fall Colors Photography Tour to the historic Round Lake Logging Dam, where they can capture the vibrant autumn hues at one of the last remaining logging dams of its kind globally. Attendees will have the opportunity to take a walk through history among hardwood and hemlock trees while taking photos of local biodiversity to share with local researchers using the iNaturalist app.
- Discover first foods while caring for the local watershed in Oregon
Participants will come together for the Grande Ronde Watershed Public Lands Day at Bird Track Springs. In partnership with organizations including the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and Wallowa Whitman National Forest, this special event promises hands-on projects, a First Foods Walk and Talk, engaging art activities, and site cleanup efforts.
- Get creative in Shenandoah in Virginia
In addition to volunteer projects and conservation-focused programming, the Shenandoah National Park Trust’s “Art in the Park: Scenes from Shenandoah” event will showcase complimentary workshops and demonstrations by talented local artists across the park.
- Foster resistance in the endangered condor population in Arizona
Given avian flu concerns and recent bird losses in 2023, the annual Condor release event will now be “Fostering Resilience,” a gathering where volunteers come together for site improvements, actively support endangered condors, and enhance educational efforts for future events.
- Experience outstanding views from an historic lighthouse in Florida
At Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse on Florida’s Atlantic coast, participants can choose from a wide range of volunteer activities and educational opportunities, including guided tours of the lighthouse, guided hikes on area trails, educational displays on topics such as habitat restoration and conservation, shoreline erosion concerns and solutions, and on-site archaeological discoveries.