Volunteer in National Parks
National Public Lands Day is the perfect opportunity to visit, and give back to, our national parks. Along with experiencing the amazing natural and cultural treasures of the National Park System, Americans can lend a hand to ensure that the parks are beautiful and accessible for years to come.
National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands. NPLD will take place on Saturday, September 29, 2012. The National Park Service is a premier partner of NPLD and encourages people to both volunteer and visit a new national park.
During last year's NPLD, 181 sites were held on National Park Service land. The projects ranged from tree and flower plantings to trail maintenance and historic site restoration. Many sites included educational and recreational activities, such as bird watching at Governor's Island National Monument and kayaking, fishing and hiking at Gulf Islands National Seashore.
- At the 8th Annual Yosemite Facelift, featured over 1,300 volunteers cleaning the park over five days. They removed over 4,000 pounds of trash, restored trails and removed a shed. A couple was even married during the Yosemite Facelift. This year, the 9th annual Yosemite Facelift will occur from September 26 - 30.
- Valley Forge National Historical Park celebrated NPLD 2011 by leading volunteering and educational activities. Volunteers had the chance to make a real difference by removing invasive plants and crayfish and maintaining trails. Families and children of volunteers could take part in a guided nature hike led by the Audubon Society and an Environmental Expo.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site hosts a large scale historic site restoration on each NPLD. In 2011, more than 350 volunteers painted buildings, repaired historic houses and beautified the grounds by mulching and gardening. The Historic Site also featured a health fair with free medical screenings. People from across Atlanta, including college students, churches, youth groups and families, came together to improve their national park.
The National Park Service has already registered many events for 2012 including:
- Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego, California
- Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Potomac, Maryland
- Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Jewel Cave National Monument, Custer, South Dakota
- Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, Honolulu, Hawaii
To encourage as many people as possible to visit their National Parks, September 29 is also a fee-free day at participating National Park Service sites. On this day, personal or car entrance fees are waived and many parks will lead additional educational or recreational events. For a listing of participating national parks, visit the National Park Service website.
For more information on National Park sites and other volunteer opportunities on National Public Lands Day, visit the Find a Site web page.
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Volunteer with Friends Groups
Friends Groups are local nonprofit organizations that support public lands. Many Friends Groups lead volunteer events to restore parks, green spaces and community gardens. Learn more about the over 200 Friends Groups that participated in National Public Lands Day 2012 and how you can get involved.
NPLD Supports Let’s Move Outside
Participating in NPLD is a great way to get the recommended 60 minutes of daily activity, while you lend a hand for public lands. Learn more about Let’s Move Outside and how NPLD is involved in the national movement.