National Public Lands Day

mount-rushmore2016 is the National Park Service’s centennial. To celebrate, the NPS scheduled 16 days of free entry to all national parks. The official centennial was last month, and America enjoyed an extended weekend of free entry to our country’s parks. Tomorrow is National Public Lands Day, and we get yet another chance to explore one of our national parks free of charge!

What is National Public Lands Day?

We celebrate National Public Lands Day each year on the last Saturday of September. It’s an opportunity to improve the health of public lands, historic sites, and parks by volunteering. National Public Land’s Day is our country’s largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands. If you’re not looking for a volunteer gig, you can take the opportunity to simply appreciate public lands.

Over 30% of the United States is public land, including our national parks. The U.S. Department of the Interior manages more than 250 million acres of public lands. Public lands include national parks, national forests, national rivers, national wildlife refuges, national conservation areas, national historic sites, national monuments, wildernesses, national memorials, national battlefields, national recreation areas, national seashores, national lake shores, and national trails.

The public owns public lands.

It’s strange to think that you own part of Zion canyon or Yosemite valley, but in a sense, you do. You can’t waltz in any time you’d like, and you certainly couldn’t build a house on top of Angel’s Landing or El Capitan. It’s not that type of ownership. The American public owns public lands, but they are managed by the government.

Ownership of public lands is something to take pride in, and it’s a responsibility. We are stewards for our public lands. We must care for them and do our part to make sure that they are there for future generations. So take tomorrow as an opportunity to volunteer at one of many public lands, or just get outside and enjoy them!

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