Celebrate National Public Lands Day This Saturday

Summer may be coming to a close, but don’t put away your gear just yet. National Public Lands Day is this Saturday, September 25th and hundreds of thousands of volunteers all over the country will join forces to restore and maintain our shared open spaces.

So how can you get involved? Organizations ranging from local trail clubs to the National Park Service are looking for volunteers, offering both in-person and virtual programs. Check out this map to find opportunities near you to get involved with trash clean-up, trail maintenance, invasive plant removal, recreation infrastructure upgrades, and native tree planting projects.

The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) has organized this celebration of stewardship for 28 years. Even last year, despite the challenges of hosting large gatherings, National Public Lands Day volunteers collectively removed more than 28,000 pounds of trash, restored or maintained 344 miles of waterways and 108 miles of trails, and enhanced or restored 668 acres of land.

Volunteers using tools to build a trail
Many trails are built and maintained by volunteers.

If there are no volunteer sites registered with NEEF in your area and you can’t find anything online about events near you, you can still celebrate public lands this weekend. Venture out to a public open space with some gloves and a trash bag, and see how quickly you can fill up that bag. And whether you volunteer or not, don’t forget to enjoy being outside! National Public Lands Day is as much about celebrating the fact we have public land for recreation and relaxation as it is about stewarding the land. That’s why national parks and various other public land areas are offering free admission on National Public Lands Day. 

Before and during your outing, remember to #RecreateResponsibly. For example:

  • Know before you go and plan ahead and prepare by doing your research before you leave home. This way, you can be prepared for all possible weather conditions, get the necessary permits and passes, and be self-sufficient since many areas have limited services and reduced hours (pack extra snacks!). You also don’t want to make a long drive and find your destination is closed due to wildfire risk or other reasons. 
  • Leave no trace, especially by packing out everything you pack in, including fruit peels, nut shells, and toilet paper. Nobody likes seeing used toilet paper along a trail, so have a plan if nature calls when you’re in nature.
  • Know your limits so you don’t need to be rescued or need to visit a hospital.

onX’s Commitment to Public Lands

We believe everyone has a right to experience nature and the recreational opportunities it provides. But due to numerous barriers, opportunities to access outdoor recreation are out of reach for millions of people in the United States. The growing popularity of outdoor recreation means stewardship of public lands is more critical than ever, since degraded lands and trails can get closed. That’s why since 2018, onX has helped open or secure access to 58,400 acres and 28 miles of trails. By 2023, we have a goal to help secure or improve public access to 150,000 acres of land and build, restore, and secure 150 miles of trails through our Access + Stewardship Grants. To learn more about our commitments and the four ways you can get involved with access and stewardship, check out our Advocacy Philosophy.

Happy National Public Lands Day!


Lisa Nichols

As the Access Advocacy Manager at onX, Lisa works with nonprofit and agency partners to address the challenges of accessing outdoor recreation opportunities, and leverages the data and mapping expertise of onX to promote solutions. Lisa loves exploring wild and scenic places on her skis and mountain bike.