Published on September 20th, 2017 | by Guest Contributor


Protect Our Lands with National Public Lands Day (September 30)

You’ve probably been scared for the last few months (of not more) over the state of our lands. Lands across the United States are hurting: there are wildfires burning in the West, flooding and hurricanes in the South and Southeast, not to mention an administration and media that can’t even acknowledge that climate change is happening and that land needs to be protected.

But, as a concerned citizen, you know you want to give back. You know you want to support Nature and our wilds. This month, you have the chance to engage with your public lands and help support the places you love by joining people all over the country to enjoy activities in service of National Public Lands Day. The official date is September 30, but activities happen for many weeks leading up to it.

This information is excerpted from National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF).

What is National Public Lands Day (NPLD)?

National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands.  Held annually on the fourth Saturday in September, it will be on Saturday, Sept. 30 in 2017.  NPLD is also a “fee-free day”—entrance fees are waived at national parks and other public lands. NEEF (National Environmental Education Foundation) coordinates National Public Lands Day.

NPLD brings together hundreds of thousands of individual and organizational volunteers to help restore the country’s public lands.  These are the places Americans use for outdoor recreation, education, and just plain enjoyment.  The lands encompass national parks, monuments, wildlife refuges, forests, grasslands, marine sanctuaries, lakes, and reservoirs, as well as state, county, and city parks that are managed by public agencies, but that belong to and are enjoyed by all of us.

This upcoming NPLD occurs on Saturday, September 30, 2017. The date is different every year, but traditionally NPLD falls on the fourth Saturday in September. NPLD 2018 will be on September 22.

Who participates in NPLD?

The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) coordinates NPLD. For the 18th consecutive year, Toyota is the national corporate sponsor of NPLD. Support is also received from federal, state, local and national organizations. Participating federal agencies include the Bureau of Land Management, Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, National Park Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Forest Service, and the Bureau of Reclamation. In 2015, about 200,000 volunteers worked over 2,520 sites in every state, the District of Columbia and in many US territories.

There are many reasons for a public land to consider hosting an NPLD event. With its status as the nation’s largest one-day volunteer event for public lands, NPLD receives considerable attention and press at the local and national level. Its prominence serves as a catalyst to attract new volunteers and visitors to your public land. Once a person is introduced to your park as a volunteer, they will want to return again and again. Register your event here. Events range from small family trail clean-ups to 500 person mega-events that mobilize entire communities.

What does NPLD accomplish?

In 2016, NLPD reached:

+ Over 200,000 participants
+ 2,600 sites across the nation
+ $18 million in public land improvements

Toyota has been the national sponsor of NPLD for over 18 years.  Every year Toyota encourages its employees to get involved in NPLD at the nation’s parks, forests, rivers, beaches, shorelines, and other public lands. Since 1999, more than 4,000 Toyota employees and their families have volunteered at more than 470 different sites on National Public Lands Day.

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