The name could be snazzier, but federal agencies, state and local governments and nonprofits rarely master catchy phrases. They don’t always play well together either, but National Public Lands Day (NPLD) celebrates a remarkable alliance between all the powers that be and the rest of us.
On the last Saturday of each September, more than 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 designated day is filled with unique 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 at Sequoia National Park looks forward to our company out in California. Standing proudly at more than 275 feet, he’s our tallest single-stem tree.
We’re 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 NPLD volunteers around the towering 1860 lighthouse at Jupiter Inlet on Florida’s Atlantic coast.
Think of National Public Lands Day as a chance to express our collective thanks for camping under sheltering tree canopies, biking along lush riverbanks and flying kites over pristine beaches. The places we love nurture our souls, and those special locations deserve our care in return.
It’s easy to make promises that revolve around getting involved. It’s 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.