The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service invites the public to roll up their sleeves and join the largest, annual coast-to-coast, day-long volunteer restoration activity on America's public lands in recognition of National Public Lands Day (NPLD). On September 30, 2006, in recognition of NPLD, day-use fees will be waived at hundreds of public land recreation sites nationwide.
"National Public Lands Day is a great opportunity for Americans to give back to their public lands – the lands where they enjoy hiking, horseback riding, biking, climbing, or just simply relaxing," said Forest Service Associate Chief Sally Collins. "In addition, the annual event provides a learning experience and a sense of pride for thousands of Americans who will volunteer to improve, restore and clean up our nation’s priceless public lands."
More than 100,000 volunteers will participate this weekend on almost 1000 sites involving Forest Service and other public lands across the country. Many of these volunteers will participate in Forest Service events scheduled across the country from the Bankhead National Forest in Double Springs, Alabama to the Pinyon Peak Fire Lookout Clean-up project in Challis, ID to the Tongass National Forest in Craig, Alaska.
Project activities include collecting native seeds for forest native plant restoration projects, working on hiking and biking trails, repairing bridges, removing fire hazards, replacing fences, planting trees, installing interpretive signs and enhancing campground areas. For the third year in a row, volunteers will also receive a coupon good for one fee-free day at recreation sites on national forests, national parks, wildlife refuges or other public lands recreation sites during the next year.
The 13 th annual event honors the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps, which enrolled three million Americans during the 1930s who countered the devastation of the Dust Bowl and the American chestnut blight by planting more than three billion trees, building 800 state parks and fighting forest fires. NPLD is a great family event which allows Americans to be a part of this legacy and provides an opportunity to involve the next generation in learning about our public lands and developing ties with nature.
While there are no entrance fees to visit national forests and grasslands, the Forest Service does charge modest fees under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act at campgrounds, rental cabins and other high-impact recreation areas. When recreation fees are collected, the majority of fee revenues (95 percent) are returned to the local unit and used to help agencies deliver high quality recreation services and facilities.
For more information about NPLD and volunteer events in your area, please visit www.publiclandsday.org.
The Forest Service manages approximately 193 million acres of public lands across 155 national forests and 22 grasslands. These lands offer boundless outdoor recreational opportunities, including approximately 133,000 miles of trails, 122,000 campsites, 9,100 miles of scenic byways, 4,400 miles of wild and scenic rivers, as well as many cabin rentals and boat launches. For more information about the Forest Service and recreation information, visit www.fs.fed.us.