Washington, D.C. — Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva encourages citizens across the country to take part in the annual celebration of National Public Lands Day to be observed on Saturday, September 27, 2008.
“National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands we all enjoy,” said Grijalva, Chairman of the Subcommittee of National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. “Volunteers have made an invaluable improvement to our nation’s lands by donating their time. As Americans, it is our duty to preserve the places that are an integral part of our national heritage and way of life for future generations.”
On National Public Lands Day, the National Park Service will waive all entrance fees for the day to National Parks across the country. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Forest Service will also waive admittance fees for the day.
Last year, over 110,000 people participated in events all across the country. Volunteers removed more than 50,000 pounds of trash, built and maintained more than 720 miles of trails and planted more than 55,000 trees. This year, 120,000 volunteers are expected to take part at 1500 sites across the nation.
This year’s event will honor the 75th anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corp, who successfully planted an estimated 3 billion trees in the 1930’s to restore the Nation’s devastated forests. In honor of this, the planting of 1 million trees by local volunteer efforts has been taking place across the nation as public land sites prepare their National Public Lands Day service projects.
Started by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Civilian Conservation Corps aided those who desperately needed a job during the Great Depression. It enrolled young Americans between 1933 and 1942, who were put to work at camps in every state, building roads, trails, bridges, dams, cabins, and other park facilities. Nearly three million benefited from the program while contributing to the improvement of America’s public lands.
First celebrated in 1994, National Public Lands Day provides an opportunity for Americans to enjoy and help preserve our nation’s natural wonders, owned by all Americans, through local volunteerism and public education projects, as well as free access to National Parks and historic sites across the country.
Official National Public Lands Day Arizona site projects can be accessed at http://www.publiclandsday.org/involved/sites.htm?state=Arizona.