El Capitan at Yosemite National Park

Volunteers will gather rakes, shovels, and trash bags to help improve U.S. public lands for the annual National Public Lands Day (NPLD) on Saturday, September 25. You can join in and help maintain trails, clean up parks and rivers, plant trees, remove invasive species, and participate in hikes and other fun activities at parks throughout the country.

The day is a fee-free day for all national parks as well as many state and local parks. This means that on National Public Lands Day, the fees to enter any of the National Park System’s 418 parks are waived. This also includes admission into sites managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Department of Defense, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and US Forest Service.

Volunteers are absolutely vital to parks across the country,” said National Environmental Education Foundation President and CEO Meri-Margaret Deoudes. “National Public Lands Day connects people to nature through service. It is the perfect opportunity to care for our public lands while spending time with family and friends and taking advantage of all the benefits that come from spending time outdoors.”

National Public Lands Day Events

In addition to in-person events in local, state, and battlefield parks and many of our national parks, NPLD will also feature a selection of virtual events. The following is just a small sample of the many in-person and virtual events planned for this year.

Shenandoah National Park

Join Natural Resource staff for the removal of problematic invasive plants and re-vegetation of native plants. Invasive plants pose a threat to native vegetation and can be disruptive to habitats, and volunteers have been a big help to Shenandoah National Park in control efforts. Volunteer for 1 hour or the entire day — all help is appreciated!

Yosemite Facelift

The annual Yosemite Facelift is a park-wide cleanup event at Yosemite National Park sponsored by the Yosemite Climbing Association. This year, the event will also take place in your hometown if you can’t be at Yosemite! The objective of Facelift this year (and every year!) is for you to pick up litter and engage in service projects on our public lands safely.

National Public Lands Day Digital Worlds Live Virtual Event

Join this Zoom-based live event to learn about building virtual reality gardens, drawing a 360 immersive landscape, and many other fun ways to enjoy public space in person or from home. The lineup of speakers includes VR artists, filmmakers, conservationists, national leaders, and game designers each bringing their own fresh perspective on technology and public lands.

Mount Rainier National Park

More than 1.5 million people visit Mount Rainier between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Park staff rely on NPLD volunteers to help refurbish the park’s 260 miles of trails, restore Meadowlands, and more.

“Lend a hand, care for the land!” – Woodsy Owl & Friends Mobile App Challenge Virtual Event

Celebrate Woodsy Owl’s 50th birthday as we wrap up the year-long “Woodsy Owl & Friends” iNaturalist and eBird mobile app challenge! Share your iNaturalist and eBird photos during this special National Public Lands Day workshop.

Grand Canyon

At the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, NPLD volunteers will work on trail maintenance near the restroom down past the old sawmill, and the installation of an informational wayside sign near the trailhead.

Find an NPLD Event Near You

You can participate and spend the day volunteering on public land. With hundreds of activities planned throughout the country, there are ample opportunities to join the NPLD celebration virtually or in person. If attending an in-person event, please follow federal, state, and local COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Find an event near you using NEEF’s interactive map. NEEF will add more events to the map throughout the month.

Event Registration Is Open

Would you like to host a National Public Lands Day event? Find information to help you plan and promote your in-person or virtual NPLD event.

About National Public Lands Day

National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort for U.S. public lands. Established in 1994, this celebration brings out thousands of volunteers to help restore, improve, and celebrate public lands around the country.

Because of the threat of COVID-19, the National Public Lands Day looked a little different last year. While public land sites were still able to register in-person events, NEEF focused on supporting innovative virtual events designed to engage volunteers and connect people to public lands from the safety and comfort of their homes. This continues in 2021.

The National Park Service is proud to partner with NEEF for another successful National Public Lands Day, which brings people and communities together. The work completed by volunteers at NPS sites across the country help ensure that Americans of all ages and abilities can connect with our public lands for recreation, education, and community-building — now and in the future.” —Lenny Teh, program manager, Service-wide Volunteers-In-Parks, National Park Service.

Learn more about National Public Lands Day and join an event near you — or online!

Originally published on September 18, 2019, this article was updated in September 2021.

By Earth911

We’re serious about helping our readers, consumers and businesses alike, reduce their waste footprint every day, providing quality information and discovering new ways of being even more sustainable.