Originally published on September 25, 2019 8:47 am
This Saturday, September 28, is National Public Lands Day. It's called the largest single-day volunteer effort for America's public lands.
"America's public lands are resilient, but they are also very fragile," said Andrew Black, public lands field director for the National Wildlife Federation.
Black said the day is about educating ourselves on the importance of public lands and the challenges they face.
"We need to make sure we manage for the wildlife values, the recreational values and some of the industrial uses of these public lands," he said. "But they need to be done so in balance and what's going to maintain these areas as healthy ecosystems."
National Public Lands Day was established in 1994. As the National Park Service puts it, the day "celebrates the connection between people and green space in their community, inspires environmental stewardship, and encourages use of open space for education, recreation, and health benefits."
Most of the country's roughly 640 million acres of public land is in the West.
To celebrate on Saturday, there will be free admission to national parks across the country. The National Environmental Education Foundation will host a range of events, including trail maintenance, clean ups, and tree plantings.
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This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.
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