DENVER — Just as fall colors are starting to pop in the High Country, some volunteers are gearing up to take part in the nation's largest single-day volunteer effort aimed at preserving public lands.
National Public Lands Day (NPLD) challenges people to enjoy the great outdoors while encouraging them to assist in various projects designed to restore and enhance public parks and forests.
The yearly event, which typically brings out hundreds of thousands of volunteers, was established in 1994 and is held each year on the fourth Saturday of September. This year's event falls on Saturday, Sept. 28.
"From trail maintenance to tree planting—volunteers of all ages and abilities roll up their sleeves and work side-by-side to care for public lands," the National Environmental Education Foundation's website says. "The day also features a variety of hikes, bike rides, community festivals, paddling excursions, and other fun outdoor activities—all set on the backdrop of the country’s public lands and waterways."
NPLD is also a fee-free day, meaning entrance fees are waived at national parks and other public lands. Colorado is home to four national parks: Rocky Mountain National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Mesa Verde National Park and of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
So if you wanted to give back while taking in fresh air and picturesque views of autumn colors, Saturday could be the perfect opportunity.
Here's a few volunteer opportunities we found:
Jefferson County Open Space and CDOT are teaming up for large-scale volunteer cleanup effort of U.S. 6 in Golden through Clear Creek Canyon Park. From 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., more than 500 volunteers are expected to help with stream bank and roadside trash collection, erosion control, and habitat restoration for a 13-mile section of the canyon. A celebration with food and music will happen following the cleanup. Anyone who would like to participate can sign up at this link.
The Colorado Department of Transportation said U.S. 6 between Colorado Highways 119, 58, and 93, will be closed in both directions until 2 p.m. for National Public Lands Day cleanup. Interstate 70 can be used as an alternate route.
Grand County is hosting its 25th annual National Public Lands Day celebration in Granby on Saturday. Volunteers will meet at the Silvercreek Inn starting at 7 a.m., and are slated help out with a variety of projects, including:
- Upper Colorado River Cleanup at Pumphouse Recreation Area
- Continued work on East Shore Trail (National Park Service)
- Trail maintenance of Serendipity Trail (US Forest Service)
- Trail reroute of Strawberry Fruit Loop Trail (BLM);
- Turnpike/bridge construction on the Sherman Creek Trail (US Forest Service)
Volunteers on this project will work on new trail construction at Hermit Park Open Space near the Moose Meadow trail head from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Workers should bring leather gloves if they have them. Tools and training will be provided.
Volunteers will meet at the Strawberry Recreation Management Area in Tabernash, and from 8:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m, will conduct restoration and erosion control on non-system trails.
Restoration work on the Panorama Point trail at Corwina Park will be happening Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. The 1.2-mile trail in Morrison leads to a gorgeous overlook offering views that span west toward Mount Evans. To participate, volunteers should sign up beforehand at this link.
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