A girl overlooks Rattlesnake Lake on the Mountains to Sound Greenway in Cedar Falls, Washington.
Tegra Stone Nuess

Five ways you can support public lands

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There’s no better way to explore the outdoors—and show your love for it—than National Public Lands Day, held the fourth Saturday in September.

Described as the nation’s “largest single-day volunteer effort,” the day inspires people across America to get outside, roll up their sleeves, and give back to the places that have given us so much.

Good thing, too, because public lands, from hidden trails and favorite campsites to irreplaceable cultural landmarks, need our help now more than ever.

Photo credit: Julia Stotz

When agencies like the Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management make a plan to use our shared natural resources, they must consider the needs of different groups: from backcountry campers who want a wilderness experience to ranchers who need space to graze cattle. Balancing those interests is tough, and the results aren’t always perfect—but everyday Americans have the right to appeal for changes.

When public lands lose protection, that right goes with it. Our mountains, deserts, and forests could be sold or leased to private interests by states seeking short-term budget solutions at the expense of irreparable harm to our most treasured landscapes.

We believe public land is a resource entrusted to us by future generations. That's why we're working hard to keep it safe. If you agree, here are five ways you can help.


1. Learn your letters

Get to know the Land Water Conservation Fund. LWCF is the budgetary lifeblood for parks and open space in the United States, and it’s set to expire this year. One big challenge to renewal? Most voters haven’t even heard of it.

2. Pick up the phone

Call your representatives. It may sound old-school, but elected officials say there’s still no substitute for hearing directly from their constituents. Call, visit, or write to let them know that you support public land—and you vote.

3. Share the love

Introduce someone to the outdoors. Our public lands need all the friends they can get—but it’s hard to care about a place you’ve never been. Take a newbie on their first hike or camping trip and show them what your favorite open space has to offer.

4. Get your hands dirty

Attend a trail-building event. National Public Lands Day is the perfect opportunity to volunteer outdoors. Chip in (and meet like-minded conservationists) by helping plant native species, build trails—even restore historic buildings.

5. Donate

We create parks and protect land for people—and we can’t do it without your help.


Erik LaRue
We must protect our wild places and the creatures that live in them!
I couldn't imagine growing up without any place to go camping or hiking..my best childhood memories are camping with my family before we grew up. Now I no longer talk to any of my brothers or sisters.
Drew lind
Can we mail cash in? Instead of using the credit cards?
Stephen Booth
Hello! It's good to know the "Five ways you can support public lands", but how can I most easily find volunteer opportunities with TPL throughout the year? Thank you, Steve

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