SPOILER ALERT: You can get into National Parks and other public lands for free on National Public Lands Day (NPLD). Have you marked September 24th 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 for public lands to help restore and improve public lands around the country.
The day is put on by the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) with the goals of:
- Celebrating connection between people and their community’s green space
- Inspiring environmental stewardship and conservation
- Encouraging use of open space for education, recreation, and health
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! According to the NEEF, “during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s public lands acted as a safe haven for recreation, conversation, and the simple enjoyment of being outside the confines of our homes. In a time of disconnectedness and uncertainty, the outdoors brought people together and deepened our appreciation for the important role these spaces play in our lives. Now it’s time for us to return the favor.” This year’s theme is Giving Back Together, and the day will be filled with virtual, in-person, and hybrid happenings of many kinds.
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 24, 2022, 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 restoration at Antelope Canyon to litter pickup at Arches National Park, there’s something for everyone to participate in. This is why the impact of National Public Lands Day events is so meaningful. In the past decade, 1+ million volunteers have donated close to 5 million hours for public lands on National Public Lands Day, worth around $133 million
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!