The name could be snazzier, but our state and local governments, nonprofits and other federal agencies rarely master catchy phrases. And though they do not always play well together either, National Public Lands Day celebrates a remarkable alliance between all the powers that be and the rest of us.
Every year, it happens on the last Saturday in September. It is the day when over 175,000 people enthusiastically rally and elevate our care for the land to a level of stewardship that makes a lasting difference.
Yes, we clean up beaches and tend to our favorite hiking trails but this day is filled with opportunities to enjoy remarkable treasures unique to our great American outdoors.
We catch the very first rays of sunshine that break over our land at Acadia National Park in Maine and enjoy dawn’s earliest light from the summit of Cadillac Mountain.
General Sherman, relaxing at Sequoia National Park in California, looks forward to our company. Standing proudly at more than 275 feet, he is our tallest single-stem tree.
We are always welcome along the Ozark National Scenic Riverways by the area’s native hellbenders. These aquatic salamanders are trying to get off the endangered species list, and we help.
We even do battle with invasive plants by joining other National Public Lands Day volunteers around the towering 1860 lighthouse at Jupiter Inlet on Florida’s Atlantic coast.
Think of this day as a chance to express our collective thanks for biking along lush riverbanks, flying kites over pristine beaches and camping under sheltering tree canopies. Our souls are nurtured by the places we love and those special locations deserve our care in return.
It is easy to make promises that revolve around getting involved. It is better to lean across the fences in our backyards, look beyond our own boundaries and commit one day a year to our cherished public lands. The sunrises, sequoias and hellbenders are counting on us.