September 28, 2019 is National Public Lands Day. Join a volunteer group at one of many events across the country. 

Since the designation of Yellowstone National Park by Ulysses S. Grant in 1872, public lands have been created, explored, and cherished across the United States. Each year we celebrate National Public Lands Day by visiting National Parks, volunteering for trail maintenance, or relaxing on BLM land near our homes and businesses.

This year on National Public Lands Day (September 28), consider pitching in to clean up trash, remove invasive species, or build an outdoor classroom and give back to the places that give us so much.

“Our public lands–whether national park or monument, wildlife refuge, forest, or prairie–make each one of us land-rich. It is our inheritance as citizens of a country called America.” –Terry Tempest Williams

Here are some ideas about where and how to volunteer on National Public Lands Day in parks across the country:


Love Your Lake Community Cleanup — Page, AZ

Help clean up litter along Lake Powell and join fellow volunteers for a celebration at Wahewap Picnic Area after a day of beautifying the lakeshore. Trash bags and additional equipment will be provided on-site, and the first. Participants are entered for prizes for every bag of trash collected.

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Buffalo River Trail Work Day

Help clean up the Buffalo River Trail along America’s very first national river. Volunteers will be focused on the Boxley section of the trail, picking up litter and cutting back overgrown vegetation.

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Palomarin Trail Cleanup — Point Reyes National Seashore

The organization Women Who Hike is joining forces with park rangers for an educational day of hiking and Leave No Trace principles. Participants will hike 6 miles on the Palomarin Trail, learning about Leave No Trace practices and picking up trash along the way.

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National Public Lands Day Island Cleanup — Canaveral National Seashore

Paddle and pick up trash on the Mosquito Lagoon. Some paddling experience is required. Participants should bring water, sunscreen, and sturdy water shoes.

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Indiana Dunes National Park Cleanup 

Join Mermaid Straw and REI for a cleanup day at Indiana Dunes, our nation’s newest national park, with a focus on reducing single-use plastic. The event starts at West Beach where volunteers will receive supplies.

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National Public Lands Day at Greenbelt Park

Camp, hike, and volunteer with trail and campground maintenance at Greenbelt Park.

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Community Cleanup at Lowell National Historic Park

Participate in a volunteer cleanup along the Concord River at Lowell National Historic Park. Close-toed shoes are advised.

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Art in the Park Drawing Workshop: Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site

A free charcoal drawing workshop will be lead by NPS Artist in Resident Melissa Bauer. Participants will draw flora in the park through the blind contour method. All supplies are provided and registration is required.

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National Public Lands Day — Homestead National Monument of America

A series of nature discovery walks with a natural resource specialist will take place at Homestead National Monument of America. Participants are encouraged to take photos of plants, animals, and insects to upload to iNaturalist.

New Jersey

Art in the Park — Paterson Great Falls National Historic Area

Multiple artists will be producing art in the park, inspired by the surrounding landscape. An annual chalk art competition will also take place.

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Volunteer Litter Cleanup — Chickasaw National Recreation Area

Volunteers will meet at Travertine Nature Center to gather supplies and then pick up trash at the park.

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Murfreesboro’s National Public Lands Day Volunteer Event — Stones River National Battlefield

Learn about properly managing the lands and waterways of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County. Volunteers will help with removing invasive plants, fencing, and trash cleanup.

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Love Your Lake Community Cleanup —Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Glen Canyon Conservancy hosts this annual Lake Powell cleanup. Volunteers receive a free t-shirt while supplies last. Come ready to get dirty!

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National Public Lands Day Volunteer Extravaganza — Mount Ranier National Park

Help wrap up important projects in the park before snow arrives for the season. Volunteers can participate in meadow replanting, campground cleanup, and trail work.

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For even more National Public Lands Day Events, search by state through the National Park Service.


Megan Walsh

Megan Walsh

Megan dreams of one day being a professional recreationalist, and welcomes any and all tips on how to get there. When she isn’t climbing, skiing, or enjoying shavasana, she’s drinking coffee and furiously typing away at her computer––or watching Netflix. Her work has been featured in Climbing Magazine, Utah Adventure Journal, and on Moja Gear.