Volunteer During 20th Annual National Public Lands Day

Friends of Wind Cave National Park helping to remove a fence in the park during National Public Lands Day 2012.

Friends of Wind Cave National Park helping to remove a fence in the park during National Public Lands Day 2012. Photo via NPS

The 20th annual National Public Lands Day, the largest, single-day volunteer event for US public lands, is happening this Saturday, September 28th.

Launched in 1994 as a way to promote both enjoyment and volunteer conservation of public lands, the first national public lands day involved only three sites and some 700 volunteers. Since then it has grown by leaps and bounds, with more than 175,000 volunteers participating at more than 2,200 different sites in 2012.

In addition to volunteering opportunities, National Public Lands Day is also means free entrance to many National Parks and Monuments.

Some of the parks are even offering free cave tours. Both Wind Cave National Park and Jewel Cave National Monument in South Dakota are running free tours, as is Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. Wind Cave is offering hour-long the Garden of Eden Tour and visitors to Jewel Cave are able to choose either the Scenic Tour or Discovery Tour, while folks at Carlsbad Cavern will have access to the Big Room and Main Corridor self-guided trails.

Volunteers help to remove weathered glass and assorted metal objects from an old dumping site at Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Volunteers help to remove weathered glass and assorted metal objects from an old dumping site at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Photo via NPS

Along with providing an opportunity for people to get out and enjoy their parks, both Carlsbad, Jewel and Wind Caves will be offering opportunities for the public to help maintain the areas.

Volunteers at Carlsbad Caverns will join rangers in collecting and removing weathered glass and some metal objects from a dumping area that has not been used for more than 80 years. Advance registration is required to take part. For more information or to register contact Helen Fields at (575) 785-3127.

People interested in volunteering at Jewel Cave will be assigned various tasks, such as picking up litter or trail work along the one-quarter mile Roof Trail. Report to the visitor center by 10:00 am.

The Friends of Wind Cave National Park will be working on a fencing project at the park’s wildlife capture facility. People interested in helping out are encouraged to meet at the park visitor center at 8:30 am dressed for the weather with work gloves and water. The work project ends around noon; participants will then return to the headquarters area for a free lunch. Call the park 605-745-4600 to make a reservation.

Volunteer with Carlsbad Caverns National Park on National Public Lands Day [Carlsbad Caverns National Park] & Jewel and Wind Caves offer Free Tours as Part of National Public Lands Day [Wind Cave National Park]

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