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While it’s usually Yosemite National Park’s grand natural features that draw visitors in the thousands, for a few days every fall, it’s volunteers that fill the campgrounds as part of the largest volunteer event in any U.S. national park.

This year, the Yosemite Facelift event (taking place September 24 through September 30) will bring outdoors brands, adventurers, lecturers, and volunteers together for nearly a week of cleaning, recycling, and partnership between Yosemite National Park and champions of the area’s natural beauty.

“Yosemite Facelift” Offers Community and Cleanup with Annual Volunteer Festival

a bag of trash on a rock face in yosemite national park

Image from Yosemite Facelift

From its humble beginnings, started by climbers cleaning up the areas around their routes more than 15 years ago, the event—sponsored annually by the Yosemite Climbing Association—has now grown to a multi-day festival of volunteering, camping, and education on environmental activism on all levels. The event organizers aim to combat issues of over-tourism and improper care for the park’s most popular sites with an army of volunteers—more than 3,300 people logged over 11,700 hours of work during last year’s event.

Visitors interested in volunteering were able to register for a free campsite months ahead of time, available on a first-come, first-serve basis. While campsites are filled for this year, the organizers urge volunteers to come for daytime volunteering hours, as there is still open lodging just outside the park. Volunteers have the chance to listen to numerous panels on a wide variety of topics relating to stewardship in the outdoors, presented from nonprofits, brands, and outdoors personalities alike.

Curious campers can check out this year’s schedule of programs and events online. Unable to make this year’s event? A tax-deductible donation can be made to help support the program on the Yosemite Climbing Association’s website.

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  • Kevin Johnson

    Kevin Johnson

    Kevin is the Assistant Editor for The Dyrt, with bylines in National Geographic Traveler and Atlas Obscura. Although originally from the swamps of Washington, D.C., he's now based in the trees of Portland. He's been interested in geography and travel since seeing his first map as a kid, and is now working toward seeing it all in person. You can find him exploring the coastal beaches or a record store in his free time.