8 reasons to give back on National Public Lands Day

Flickr, Bureau of Land Management

National Public Lands Day is on Saturday, September 27, 2014.

National Public Lands Day is America's largest, single-day volunteer effort to care for our public lands. There are over 2,000 sites across the country participating this year. Last year more than 175,000 visitors and volunteers celebrated.

Here are some reasons you should join them this year:

1. Celebrate Wilderness’ 50th anniversary! Check out the FIFTY for the 50th projects being held across the nation this year in honor of the 1964 Wilderness Act.

2. National Public Lands Day is free! This is one of only two days a year in which all land management agencies offer free admission (the other is Veteran’s Day). Bonus: If you volunteer, you also get a free pass for visiting any participating land within the next year as well.

3. Lands are in need of extra love. For years, our public lands have been on the chopping block as our government seeks to reduce spending. The maintenance backlog for forest trails alone now exceeds $314 million dollars, threatening to limit public access and to harm natural resources.

4. Lands offer numerous other opportunities for fun and recreation. NPLD is also National Hunting and Fishing Day. But the list doesn’t end there. There’s hiking, biking, boating, rock climbing, snowshoeing, even building sand castles.

5. Lands are important to our health. Recreation can keep us fit, but that is just the beginning. Being outdoors also improves our vision, helps us sleep better, and strengthens our immunity - which is why doctors are beginning to prescribe it. In addition to a healthier body, lands can help you have a better functioning brain. Studies have shown that being outdoors reduces stress, increases attentiveness and learning, helps us be more creative, and makes us happy.

6. Lands build community. Nature encourages the building of social skills, which leads to reduced violence and crime. And there are oodles of opportunities to connect with others outdoors, from Friends Groups to recreation meetups.

7. Lands are vital for younger generations. For numerous reasons, kids need nature. Unfortunately, screentime is increasing and outdoor play is on the decline. You can help by supporting legislation - and getting those kids you know out into the sunshine!

8. Giving back feels good. You will create memories for future visits. You will take pride in being part of something important - to yourself and to others. You may learn new things. You will be filled with boundless gratitude for all that lands do for us. 


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