U.S.A. National Public Lands Day, 2009: An Opportunity to Get Outdoors and Give Back to the National Parks

This Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009, will mark the 16th annual National Public Lands Day in the United States. Originated in 1994, this nationally recognized day intends to carry on the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a program cultivated to revive communities and provide employment opportunities following the Great Depression.

National Public Lands Day

Providing an opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts to celebrate and enjoy the great outdoors, National Public Lands Day intends to educate Americans about crucial environmental and natural resource issues within their communities. Volunteers from across the nation will have the opportunity to give back to the natural environment and treasured public lands enjoyed by citizens each year.

In 1994 National Public Lands Day started with three federal agencies and 700 total volunteers. Local and state organizations along with eight federal worked together with 120,000 volunteers in over 1,8000 locations to help build trails, bridges, remove trash and invasive species along with planting over 1.6 million trees in one day. In 2009 federal, state and local agencies hope to make this nationally recognized the largest effort to yet.

National Parks Celebrate National Public Lands Day

In celebration, the national park system will offer free admission to all of their 391 locations of Sept. 26, 2009. In addition, many of the national parks will offer a sneak preview of Ken Burn’s newest documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea which premieres on Sept. 27, 2009, at 8 p.m. on PBS. This long-awaited series will continue to run for six consecutive nights until October 2, 2009.

A section of the National Park System’s website has information for volunteers on national park volunteer events, updated continuously until the official National Public Lands Day on Sept. 26, 2009.

Where to Volunteer for National Public Lands Day

This Saturday there will be an estimated 2,300 public land improvement projects across the country in need of volunteers during the nation’s largest single-day outdoor volunteer event. Activities will range from rehabilitating habitat for wildlife to preserving historic and cultural resources. Volunteer projects will be located within national parks and forests, rivers, local parks and within neighborhoods. Participants looking to get involved locally can visit the Public Lands Day website for further information and a list of volunteer projects.

National Public Lands Day is just one day out of the year for outdoor enthusiasts to show their support and celebrate public lands throughout the United States. Getting involved locally on a regular basis will ensure the continued preservation of cherished public lands for years to come.