Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adam Dunn Tuesday extended an invitation to state park visitors to join her in a day of volunteer service to improve state parks by taking part in National Public Lands Day events across Pennsylvania on September 26.
“Each year National Public Lands Day brings together more than 150,000 volunteers across the nation to refurbish and restore public places,” said Dunn, who will be volunteering at Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Cumberland County. “A total of 24 of our state parks will be participating as volunteers, a vital cornerstone in our park system, don work gloves and boots and tackle an array of important projects.”
Marking its 20th year and billed as the nation’s largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance public lands Americans enjoy, National Public Lands Day is offered by the National Environmental Education Foundation to encourage and salute public contributions in parks, forests and open lands across the nation.
“Whether it’s trail maintenance at Centre County’s Black Moshannon State Park, or trail work at Oil Creek in Venango County, National Public Lands Day gives each of us a chance to contribute to the betterment of our public lands for this and future generations of Americans,” said Dunn. “This Saturday, local volunteers will have a unique chance to give something back to their country, their community, and the state parks that serve them. I encourage everyone to consider lending a helping hand.”
In 2009, in their initial involvement, 12 Pennsylvania state parks hosted National Public Lands Day events. This year, 24 state parks and environmental education centers will host volunteer groups in the national effort to improve and preserve habitat on public lands.
Project details, registration and other information can be found online at the Public Lands Day website.
DCNR will oversee National Public Lands Day volunteer workdays at the following sites: Allegheny Islands State Park, Allegheny County; Bald Eagle and Black Moshannon state parks, both in Centre County; Chapman State Park, Warren County; Colonel Denning State Park, Cumberland County; Cook Forest State Park, Clarion County; Cowans Gap State Park, Fulton County; Erie Bluffs State Park, Erie County; Greenwood Furnace State Park, Huntingdon County; Jennings Environmental Education Center, Butler County; Keystone State Park, Westmoreland County; Kings Gap Environmental Education Center, Cumberland County; Laurel Hill State Park Complex, Somerset County; Little Buffalo State Park, Perry County; Maurice K. Goddard State Park, Mercer County; Nockamixon State Park, Bucks County; Ohiopyle State Park, Fayette County; Oil Creek State Park, Venango County; Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Cumberland County; Presque Isle State Park, Erie County; Prince Gallitzin State Park, Cambria County; Raccoon State Park, Beaver County; and Ralph Stover State Park, Bucks County.
To participate at one of the state parks, contact that park’s offices before Saturday, Sept. 26, to pre-register and inquire about possible inclement weather, starting times, meetings places and other details.
Pennsylvania volunteers will join a workforce across the country that is committed to carrying on the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the “tree army” that exemplified land stewardship from 1933-1942 by preserving and protecting America's natural heritage.
The National Environmental Education Foundation, which has managed and coordinated the annual all-day effort from its start in 1994, estimates that the volunteers’ work, along with community contributions of food, tools and equipment, will result in improvements valued at more than $8 million.
National Public Lands Day is a public-private partnership involving DCNR and many other state, federal, and local land and conservation agencies. The National Environmental Education Foundation manages, coordinates and generates financial support for the program.For information about volunteering in Pennsylvania’s state parks and forestlands throughout the year, visit DCNR’s Conservation Volunteer Program webpage. For details on Pennsylvania’s 120 state parks, call 1-888-PA-PARKS between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; or visit DCNR’s State Park webpage.