Lizzie Dragon
by Lizzie Dragon
Posted August 25, 2021

SPOILER ALERT: You can get into National Parks for free on National Public Lands Day (NPLD). Have you marked September 25th on your calendar yet? Assuming you said ‘yes,’ let’s get into the blog.

What is National Public Lands Day?

Celebrated on the fourth Saturday of September every year since 1994, National Public Lands Day has traditionally been the largest single-day volunteer effort. And despite the impact of COVID-19 on NPLD last year, some great work was still done! In fact, 77,267 people participated across a total of 108 virtual events and 188 in-person events.

National Public Lands Day 2020

The day is put on by the National Environmental Education Foundation with the goals of:

So, how does this work in practice?

How to celebrate National Public Lands Day

Well, we’ve spoiled one of the ways already, but there’s more! Building on the theme of “More Ways to Connect to Nature,” the day will be filled with virtual, in-person, and hybrid happenings of many kinds.

national public lands day
Image source: / Juliana Luna

Four popular ways to get involved include:

  • Visiting a National Park
  • Attending or volunteering at a NPLD event
  • Exploring the outdoors
  • Sharing on social media

1. Visit a National Park near you for FREE

NPLD is a “Fee-Free Day.” You read that right — FREE. This means that on September 25, 2021, entrance fees are waived at National Parks and other public lands. So you can party the day away at one or more of over 400 parks at no cost to you!

Note: There are 6 fee-free days every year, and this is the second to last one.

2. Volunteer at a local event

You can find volunteer events here, there, and everywhere on National Public Lands Day — at your nearest National park, your local beach, or your favorite trail. You can search by date, park, state, and event type to discover the perfect one for you.

From a beach cleanup at Cape Lookout National Seashore to volunteer stewardship at Arches National Park, there’s something for everyone to participate in. This is why the impact of NPLD events, even in 2020, is so meaningful. Last year saw over 28,000 pounds of trash picked up and more than 11,000 invasive species removed.

National Public Lands Day events
Image source:
National Public Lands Day
Image source:

Search volunteer events near you to make an impact on this NPLD.

3. Explore the outdoors wherever you are

You don’t have to take a trip to a National Park to make the most of the day. You can celebrate wherever you are! Talk a walk in the park, go for a swim, or just lay out in the sunshine — the day is yours to spend.

4. Share your love for the outdoors online

And whatever you choose to do, snap a quick photo and share it on social media to inspire others and spread your love for the outdoors.

Use #NPLD#NPSVolunteer, #FindYourPark, and #RecreateResponsibly.

Happy Public Lands Day!

This day (and every day) is a great one to enjoy the fresh air, the sunlight, the scenery, and all the adventure the outdoors has to offer. And to really get into the spirit, why not rent an RV while you’re at it?

Whatever you do, have a happy and safe National Public Lands Day!

Lizzie Dragon

Outdoorsy Author

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