One third of America belongs to the public. In the Eastern Sierra, the percentage of public land ownership is even greater.
From high Alpine wilderness to low valleys stretching into the Great Basin, public lands make up the region and local economies rely on them. And whether they’re managed by the city, state or federal government, everyone uses them, enjoying their many offerings and inspirations.
In recognition of how important public lands are to society, National Public Lands Day was founded in 1994 to provide American citizenry with an opportunity to give back to the lands and help maintain them for future generations.
Organized and led by the National Environmental Education Foundation, the event has grown into the nation’s largest volunteer service day. Last year, more than 2,000 projects were carried out by more than 150,000 volunteers.
According to the NPLD website, 2009 efforts cleaned up around 900,000 pounds of trash, built and maintained 1,320 miles of trails, pulled 20,000 pounds of invasive plants, and planted 100,000 trees, shrubs and other native species. Additionally, around $14 million was contributed to help improve public lands across the country. This year is expected to be just as big or bigger.
Locally, several work projects are planned in celebration of this year’s National Public Lands Day.
For more information about National Public Lands Day and a detailed listing of nationally scheduled volunteer events including local events, go to: www.publiclandsday.org