National Public Lands Day is a remarkable event that takes place annually on the fourth Saturday of September. This year, we will observe it on September 23rd, 2023. But how did this day come into existence, and what is its significance? Let's delve into the history and importance of this day.
A Glimpse into the Past
National Public Lands Day was established in 1994 as a day dedicated to preserving and improving public lands in the United States. The concept was born out of a volunteer effort to enhance and maintain federally owned land nationwide. It carries forward the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps, fondly called the "tree army," which worked from 1933 to 1942 to protect and preserve public lands.
The Largest Volunteer Event for Public Lands
National Public Lands Day is celebrated as the nation's largest single-day volunteer event for public lands. Every year, thousands of nature enthusiasts, conservationists, and volunteers come together to restore and improve public lands across the country. From cleaning up trails and planting trees to removing invasive plants and improving habitats, the activities carried out on this day significantly impact the conservation of these lands.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, 46,227 volunteers participated in 536 National Public Lands Day events for 185,108 hours in 2021 alone.
A Day of Free Admission
In honor of National Public Lands Day, admission to all National Parks is free. This initiative, aimed at encouraging more people to visit and appreciate the country's natural beauty, allows everyone to explore the diverse landscapes and wildlife the U.S. offers.
The National Park System, established in 1916, protects some of America's most iconic and cherished natural and historical sites. From the majestic peaks of Yosemite to the historical landmarks of Gettysburg, our National Parks are a testament to the country's rich natural and cultural heritage.
National Public Lands Day is more than just a day; it's a movement that brings together individuals from all walks of life to contribute to preserving our public lands. It's an opportunity to reconnect with nature, understand its importance, and take tangible action towards its conservation. So, this September 23rd, let's celebrate our public lands and contribute whatever we can to their preservation for future generations.
If you're interested in joining a volunteer event for National Public Lands Day, you can find an event near you here.