This blog post is brought to you by the Lorax. Not really, but National Public Lands Day is coming up on September 23rd, and we thought we’d take a moment to speak for the trees.
National Public Lands Day is hands-down one of our favorite holidays. However, many outdoor enthusiasts aren’t even aware that the holiday exists, so much like the furry, mustachioed Lorax, we’re here to spread the word. Below, we’ll break down two reasons why we’re big fans of National Public Lands Day. Then, we’ll explain how to celebrate next week.
Reason #1 Why National Public Lands Day Kicks Ass: Fee-Free Days at National Parks
National Public Lands Day is one of five fee-free days for the National Parks. It’s also a fee-free day for public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, Army Corps of Engineers, Fish & Wildlife Service, and Forest Service.
If you’re a National Parks regular, you likely already have an America the Beautiful annual parks pass, which costs $80 for teens over 15 and adults, $20 for seniors, and is free for military. If you visit parks frequently or are in a comfortable financial situation, the spend isn’t significant. However, if you live far from National Parks, don’t have much free time, or are on a more stringent budget, the cost of an annual pass (not to mention the cost of travel and missed work) can be an extreme barrier to entry. Day rates–$30 for a vehicle or $15 per person–can also dissuade disadvantaged or economically vulnerable populations from enjoying our nation’s most treasured public lands.
We know firsthand that recreating in the great outdoors is critical for both mental and physical health. It’s important that everyone has an opportunity to reap the benefits of time spent in nature, and these fee-free days help reduce typical barriers to entry.
Other fee-free days at National Parks include:
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- First Day of National Park Week
- Great American Outdoors Day
- Veterans Day
Put ‘em on your calendar, and spread the word with friends, family, and community members if you feel so inclined.
Reason #2 Why National Public Lands Day Kicks Ass: Volunteer Clean-Ups, Nationwide Events, and Giving Back Together
According to the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), the Congress-chartered non-profit behind National Public Lands Day, the holiday is the largest single-day volunteer event for public lands.
The theme of this year’s National Public Lands Day is “Giving Back Together,” which is embodied by an annual tradition of nationwide clean-ups and events. Next Saturday, volunteer crews from Hawaii and Alaska to Florida and Maine will be cleaning up beaches, maintaining trails, and celebrating National Public Lands Day in style. Here’s how to join and support their efforts:
Three Ways to Give Back Together
- Volunteer: If you are able-bodied, have next Saturday free, and want to join a volunteer clean-up, visit NEEF’s site and search for an event near you here.
- Organize: If you want to organize your own event, you’ll find everything you need to register and promote an event here. If you don’t have time to organize an event this year but might like to in the future, bookmark the page for next year.
- Donate: If you cannot attend an event but want to support NEEF’s work, you can donate here.
We sincerely appreciate you reading this far and considering participating in a clean-up. Luno wouldn’t exist without public lands–and that’s a fact. The first road trip that inspired the creation of our car air mattress, we camped on public lands. When those prototypes arrived, we tested them on public lands. Heck, just this past weekend, we unplugged and camped on public lands. Long story short: we take so much from our public lands, it’s an honor to give back together with you.