News Release

USDA Forest Service Celebrates National Public Lands Day at Nationwide Events

Event is the largest annual volunteer public lands event

Washington
September 23, 2010 -

The USDA Forest Service will join the public at events across the country on Saturday, Sept. 25, to celebrate National Public Lands Day - the largest annual hands-on nationwide volunteer effort to improve America's public lands.

"National Public Lands Day is an opportunity for volunteers to care for, refurbish and restore public lands and learn about the many benefits these special places provide," said Tom Tidwell, Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. "This year's theme for the day is climate change, which greatly impacts our national forests and future generations."

The annual National Public Lands Day, coordinated by the National Environmental Education Foundation with the support of the Forest Service and other federal agencies, focuses on educating the public about the importance of natural resources and the need for shared stewardship on the land.

Volunteer activities include: planting trees and vegetation, building and refurbishing trails, removing trash and invasive plants, repairing bridges, restoring historic structures, monitoring endangered species and restoring habitats.

The Forest Service has more than 80 project sites to date for volunteer initiatives across the country. Highlights of these projects include:

Deschutes National Forest/Metolius River and Whychus Creek, Sisters Ranger District, Oregon This is one of five sites in the nation selected by the National Forest Foundation for their Treasured Landscapes, Unforgettable Experiences conservation campaign. The Foundation is partnering with the Deschutes National Forest to host this combined Friends of the Forest Day event, where volunteers will work on community stewardship and restoration efforts.

Idaho Panhandle National Forest, Coeur d'Alene River Ranger District, Idaho Volunteers will improve a native plant and pollinator educational site by planting, weeding, watering and mulching plants in a native plant garden.

Midewin National Tall Grass Prairie, Illinois

This site includes volunteer activities centered on invasive plant removal on a historic farmstead, native seed harvesting, erosion control in a restored wetland and trail bridge construction.

Last year, 150,000 volunteers in 2000 locations across the country built trails and bridges, removed trash and planted over 1.6 million trees. This year's event promises to be even more successful.

In recognition of the day, fees will be waived at hundreds of recreation standard amenity sites on federal public lands nationwide.

The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to State and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.

For more information about National Public Lands Day or the Forest Service, visit:

www.publiclandsday.org or www.fs.fed.us