National Public Lands Day is a “fee-free” day!


National Public Lands Day, Saturday, September 30, 2017 is a “fee-free” day!

Many of NWRA’s partners, supporters and Friends are preparing to celebrate National Public Lands Day this weekend with a day of volunteerism and/or enjoyment of “fee-free” events and activities. Since the launch of the first National Public Lands Day, it has grown significantly over the years to include thousands of people who gather to volunteer or enjoy hiking, exploring, fishing, camping and other recreational activities at many federally managed public lands across the country, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. We hope you will join us at one of our national wildlife refuges. A few activities to consider volunteering for or enjoy!

Billy Frank, Jr Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge**: Nisqually Watershed Festival (10am to 4pm). The Watershed Festival is an annual celebration of the natural world featuring art, discovery, and family activities.  The partners within the Nisqually River Watershed engage participants in diverse activities for all ages, including guided walks, art activities, making a fish print on a t-shirt, and more. Parking is at River Ridge High School (350 River Ridge Dr. SE, Olympia, WA) with shuttles running continuously.  Spend the day at the Festival and walking the trails at Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.

Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge: Quaking Aspen Planting on Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge; 6263 Appalachian Highway, Davis, WV (9am to 1pm). Contact: Dawn Washington at dawn_washington@fws.gov (RSVP via email). Canaan Valley NWR will be planting 700 aspen seedlings and putting fencing around them to protect them from deer.  This project is in coordination with the WV Ruffed Grouse Society. Please wear sturdy shoes or boots and bring lunch and water.

Friends of Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee**: Refuge Clean-Up Day (8am to 11:30am). 10216 Lee Road, Boynton Beach, FL. Volunteers needed for a Refuge Clean-up Day at A.R.M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. Spend the morning outdoors and help keep the Refuge beautiful by taking part in a clean-up event for National Public Lands Day. Meet at the Marsh Trail parking lot beginning at 8:00 am to register, before heading out to collect and remove trash from Refuge roads, trails, and other public areas. Long sleeves, long pants, and sturdy shoes or boots are recommended. Please remember to bring your own gloves, or you can borrow ours, and a refillable water bottle. Students can receive Community Service hours. Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge: This Land is Your Land (10am to 3pm). 1 Wildlife Drive, Sanibel, FL. Contact: Ranger, Monica Scroggin at 239-472-1100. Join us to celebrate National Public Lands Day on Sanibel Island. Free admission to Wildlife Drive, special activities, and issuance of free yearlong passes to all national public lands, including the more than 560 wildlife refuges across the U.S. Wildlife Drive opens at 7 a.m. for free touring and closes at 7 p.m. The free “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center opens at 9 a.m. In the Refuge Nature Store, the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) is giving away a free “Kick the Bottle” reusable water container with a purchase of $5 or more, upon request. This year’s National Public Lands Day celebrates the 6th anniversary of the Kick the Bottle campaign to rid the refuge of the disposable plastic bottles that litter the environment.

Special free activities take place at the refuge from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: 10-11 am Beach WalkMeet at Gulfside City Park for a guided, hands-on tour of the beach life at Perry Tract. City parking fees apply. Bring a hat, sunscreen, and water. 1-2 pm Crafts & Bagzilla – Meet in the Refuge Visitor & Education Center to participate in the Marine Debris Decomposition Timeline game and make recycled wildlife crafts to take home. Meet Bagzilla, the “monster” costumed in 500 plastic bags – the typical annual consumption of one person. 2 pm Addicted to Plastic Film Screening – The award-winning, 85-minute film takes a global journey to investigate what we really know about the material of a thousand uses and why there’s so darn much of it. On the way viewers discover a toxic legacy and the men and women dedicated to cleaning it up.

Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge**: National Public Lands Day – Protecting Pollinators with Promotores Verdes (9am to 3pm). 6550 Gateway Road, Commerce City, CO. We re-engage Promotores Verdes families to volunteer at the RM Arsenal NWR. At this event, we gather 100 Latino volunteers to join Refuge staff as they gather pollinator friendly plant seeds that will be used to enhance prairie habitat for wildlife. We organize a healthy pollinator inspired potluck lunch (fruit, vegetables, seeds), conduct a planting workshop and close the event with Zumba, dancing with scarfs and in butterfly costumes. Participants will steward, restore and protect National Grasslands. This event is an extension of prior events, focused on healthy forests for healthy people. They will learn about the importance of National Grasslands, native plants and pollinators for our food security, and the health of the grasslands. They learn about the benefits of nature for their health and wellbeing. In addition, they will be encouraged to go outdoors, returning to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR on October 14 for an annual celebration of the site, offering recreational activities for the entire family.

 South Texas National Wildlife Refuge Complex**: Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge (8am to 10am). State Highway 48, 5 miles south of State Highway 100 in Port Isabel. Contact: Refuge staff at 956-244-2019. Laguna Atascosa NWR will hold a clean-up event for National Public Lands Day. All are welcome to help us clean up the area near the water at the Bahia Grande unit. Bags and water to refill your bottles will be provided. Remember to wear sturdy, closed toe shoes. We will meet at the pull off on State Highway 48, 5 miles south of State Highway 100 in Port Isabel. Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge (9am to 12pm). 3325 Green Jay, Alamo, TX. Contact: Raul Garza at 956-784-7500. Join us at Santa Ana NWR for a few hours to help work on the butterfly gardens by weeding, digging, transplanting plants, and picking up debris and trash. Please remember to bring your gloves!

Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge**: Valle de Oro NWR’s 5th Birthday Celebration/National Public Lands Day (10am to 2pm). 7851 2nd Street, SW, Albuquerque, NM. This is Valle de Oro’s annual Birthday Celebration Bash/National Public Lands Day Celebration! This is one of our biggest events of the year and everyone is invited with all the activities FREE of charge! There will be free cake, music, and tours in celebration of the refuge’s 5th Birthday! Be sure and join us for our Saturday, September 30th event!


Red River National Wildlife Refuge – Fall Wildlife Celebration (10am to 2pm on Saturday, October 21, 2017).   In celebration of National Public Lands Day and National Wildlife Refuge Week, Red River NWR will host a Fall Wildlife Celebration with a day of free, wildlife-themed activities including: archery, canoeing, skull ID maze, a story trail, and much more! This family-friendly free event is open to the public. Volunteers are also needed to help put the event on. If you are interested in helping please contact Red River NWR’s volunteer coordinator via email at redriver@fws.gov.

For more National Public Lands Day events and/or volunteer opportunities click here for a complete list provided by our colleagues at National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF).

**denotes USFWS designated regional priority urban wildlife refuges

Permanent link to this article: https://www.refugeassociation.org/2017/09/national-public-lands-day-is-a-fee-free-day/

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