What You Need to Know About National Public Lands Day

This annual celebration includes an opportunity to volunteer to cleanup and restore our public lands and waters, and free admission to many federal, state, county and city owned lands and parks.

Children pick up trash at the Bog Cleanup along the South River, MD. | Jennifer Carr

Hooray – National Public Lands Day is on September 22 this year! Whether you’re looking to gain service hours, meet new people or spend a day outside with your family and friends, this is the opportunity for you! National Public Lands Day combines two of our favorite things: free access to our favorite public lands and waters AND hundreds of opportunities to volunteer.

In 1994, this day was established as a day of service. Starting with 3 sites and 700 volunteers (yes, only 700), the day has turned into one of the largest volunteer days in the country. According to National Environmental Education Foundation, 169,000 volunteers participated and contributed 680,000 hours of service at over 2,100 sites across the U.S. in 2017.

A volunteer cleans up trash on Theodore Roosevelt Island (U.S. National Park Service). | Rebecca Long
A volunteer cleans up trash on Theodore Roosevelt Island (U.S. National Park Service). | Rebecca Long

Volunteers can participate in public land improvement projects such as trash cleanups, trail maintenance, tree plantings and other restoration projects. Many volunteer opportunities are provided through participating federal agencies, including Bureau of Land Management, Department of Defense, Environmental Protection Agency, National Park Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife Service and Forest Service. Volunteer opportunities can also be found through your city, state, county, school and local park departments. American Rivers encourages everyone to sign up to volunteer or organize your own public lands cleanup through our National River Cleanup© program. Cleaning up our public lands and waters helps remove hazardous debris which threatens our wildlife, rivers and each other.

More Fun Facts about National Public Lands Day:

  1. National Public Lands Day is celebrated every year on the 4th Saturday in September. This year marks the 25th anniversary of National Public Lands Day and is also the first day of fall!
  2. The National Park Service is one of the largest providers of volunteer opportunities on this day.
  3. Some agencies and groups celebrate by providing volunteer and educational opportunities throughout September and October.
  4. This day is organized by the National Environmental Education Foundation in partnership with several federal agencies including Bureau of Land Management, Department of Defense, National Park Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service.
Register your cleanup with us and we can send you free bags! | Chesapeake Bay Program

So mark your calendars for September 22 and join American Rivers and our partners to help clean up our public lands and waters. Thinking of hosting your own cleanup? American Rivers offers free trash bags to anyone who registers their cleanup with us.

 

 

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