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 24. 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.
Sponsored by the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), National Public Lands Day is a fee-free day. This means that on National Public Lands Day, the fees are waived to enter any of the U.S. National Park System’s 418 parks as well as other public lands.
Volunteers are absolutely vital to parks across the country,” said NEEF 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 events planned for this year.
Join Canyonlands Field Institute and the Bureau of Land Management to work to protect a sensitive archeological site. Volunteers will help build a wooden fence, line trails, and remove social trails at a popular pictograph site.
Volunteers of any age and ability are invited to participate in the BioBlitz! Help identify flora and fauna in the park by taking images of them and posting them on iNaturalist (or eBird). Volunteers can do this while spending time in the park on the trails or on ranger-led tours on boats or trams. Your data will help the park’s biologists with their research.
This fun, family-friendly event grows larger every year and is great for individuals or teams. You’ll walk the Historic Tour route inside Mammoth Cave, hike two miles on a beautiful, woodland trail, and bike along the Mammoth Cave Railroad Bike and Hike Trail to Park City.
All are welcome to come to enjoy a day exploring hiking trails, visitor centers, overlooks, and public programs to learn more about Shenandoah and why public lands are important. NPLD work parties are full, but please come enjoy the beauty of this natural space on your own!
A variety of volunteer opportunities are available, including picking up litter, maintaining trails, and removing graffiti. There will be refreshments at the kickoff celebration and educational activities as well.
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. To participate, most events require you to register in advance.
Host an NPLD Event
Would you like to host a National Public Lands Day event? Find information to help you plan, register, and promote your 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 and held annually on the fourth Saturday in September, this celebration brings out thousands of volunteers to help restore, improve, and celebrate public lands around the country.
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.
Originally published on September 18, 2019, this article was updated in September 2022.