Top 11 Frequently Questions Asked About NPLD | NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY

Top 11 Frequently Questions Asked About NPLD


Volunteers at Los Padres National Forest

National Public Lands Day receives numerous questions from public land sites, friends groups and volunteers interested in learning more about the event. We’ve collected a list of the most frequently asked questions with the answers posted.


If your question is not addressed here, feel free to send it to us at [email protected]. We’re happy to help!



11. What is National Public Lands Day?

National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation’s largest single-day volunteer event for public lands. Volunteers from across the United States and its territories come together to perform service projects on public lands, including tree plantings, invasive plant removal, historic site restoration and trash pick-ups. In 2011, more than 170,000 volunteers lent a hand at 2,067 sites in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


10. What day is NPLD?

The next NPLD occurs on Saturday, September 29, 2012.  The date of NPLD is different every year.


9. I am not with a federal public land site. Can I still participate in NPLD?

Any federal, state, local, county or regional public land can host a NPLD event. School grounds and community gardens can also participate. There is no limitation on the size or the managing agency of the public land. As long as the land is held in the public trust (no private land) and accessible to the public, it can be an NPLD site. 


Volunteer removing invasive plants.

8. Why should my public land host an NPLD event? How does it benefit us?

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.

Other reasons include:

7. Are there a minimum number of volunteers required to register an event for NPLD?

No. We get events that range from a small family trail clean-up to a 500 person mega-event that mobilizes a whole community.


6. What kind of work projects apply for NPLD?

Any project that benefits the public land, or those who utilize the public land, can be registered for NPLD.  The majority of projects are focused on habitat restoration, such as tree plantings, trash or invasive plant removal, bird or bat house construction, trail maintenance, fence removal and gardening. Historic sites typically host beautification projects including trash pick-ups, painting, sculpture renovation and other needed projects.

Some public lands do not have the ability to host volunteer events. In these cases, the public land usually holds educational programming. Examples include hikes, talks on public land issues, fishing derbys, festivals, classes on water quality testing and geocaching programs.


5. This is the first time I am hosting an NPLD event. Are there resources available to help me as I plan for September 29?

Yes! The NPLD website is loaded with helpful resources, tips and ideas for leading an NPLD event.  The Site Manager Resources section contains the Manual for Site Managers and the Media Kit for Site Managers; a guide to promoting your event. Download the 2012 Manual for Site Managers.


4. When and how can I register my event?

Registration is now open. To register, visit


3. I want to volunteer on NPLD.  Where can I find a site near my house?

Volunteers should use the Find a Site map and search tool on the NPLD website.  2012 registration is now open and volunteers should regularly check the website for new events. If you don’t find a site near your house by late summer, contact your local public land site and invite them to participate.


Volunteers in Seal Beach, California.2. I am the leader of a Girl Scout (or Boy Scout) troop. How can my troop participate?

The Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of the USA are two of NPLD’s most important partners. Last year, over 125 troops, and many more individual scouts, helped make NPLD a success.

To participate, Boy and Girl Scouts can either lead their own NPLD event or join an existing event. Either way, all scouts should register themselves on the NPLD website so they can receive credit nationally for their effort.

If you are leading a scout project on NPLD, register your scouts with NPLD here.

Girl Scouts can also check out the Get Involved Guide online for helpful tips and resources.


1. My public land cannot host an event on September 29, 2012. Does NPLD accept alternate dates for events?

Yes! Although we prefer for as many events as possible to happen on the official date of September 29, 2012, we recognize alternate dates as well.

This is the most frequent question asked to NPLD staff. We understand that public land managers and friends groups have complex schedules and preexisting obligations that can sometimes prevent them from hosting events on the exact day of NPLD. It can be especially difficult for schools to get young people out on a non-school day. For these reasons, we accept alternate dates in the few weeks before or after NPLD. Make sure to note the day and time of your event during registration.