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Press Release



Agriculture, Interior Mobilizing Employees, Volunteers for Saturday’s National Public Lands Day


Largest One-Day Volunteer Effort to Improve America’s Public Lands


09/24/2009

Contact: Hugh Vickery
(202) 208-6416

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In honor of Public Lands Day, this Saturday, September 26, 2009, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are pleased to announce a variety of planned activities, including: cleaning up rivers, lakes and wetlands; mulching the Lincoln Memorial; restoring fish and wildlife habitat; a wild horse auction, and free entrance at hundreds of federal recreation sites on public lands nationwide.

To mark the 16th Annual National Public Lands Day federal agencies, the National Environmental Education Foundation, and tens of thousands of volunteers will be participating in the nation’s largest one-day public lands volunteer event in history. The U. S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and dozens of other federal land management agencies will be holding events from coast to coast, focusing on the need for shared stewardship of public lands and educating the public about the importance of natural resources. Check out www.publiclandsday.org to find an event near you!

National Public Lands Day volunteers at all federal sites managed by the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Army Corps of Engineers will receive free admission on Sept. 26, and many sites will provide a coupon to return for "fee-free" day use activity any time in the next year. Many state sites are also offering free admission for the day.

“Interior manages more than 500 million acres of land - one-fifth of the nation's land mass,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said. “These lands include every type of ecosystem, from coastal estuaries and streamside habitat on our nation’s rivers to prairie wetlands and alpine forests. We need greater public involvement to protect and restore these vast, valuable natural resources. National Public Lands Day is a great opportunity not only to reach out to our citizen-stewards but also to do some good work.”

“Our nation's forests are incredible assets that have major economic, environmental, and social significance for all Americans,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “Forests are sources of clean abundant water, fish and wildlife habitat, carbon storage, and a wide array of recreational activities for all to enjoy. But they are in need of restoration and conservation. It is essential that we reconnect Americans across the nation with the natural resources and the landscapes that sustain us. By working together we will restore forests, making them more resilient to climate change while protecting critical water resources and improving overall forest health."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service will host 96 project sites for volunteer initiatives across the country, including restoring fish and wildlife habitat, testing water quality in streams and rivers, cleaning up rivers, lakes and wetlands, and planting vegetation near bodies of water. Highlights of these efforts are appended.
In 2008, more than 120,000 volunteers built trails and bridges, removed trash and planted over 1.6 million trees throughout the country. This year’s events promise to be even more successful. In recognition of the day, fees will be waived at hundreds of recreation sites on public lands nationwide.


Interior land management bureaus, including the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will be hosting several hundred volunteer events at their sites across the country. One of the largest events will be at the National Mall, where Interior employees and friends will join senior administration and departmental officials to improve and beautify The Watergate Steps on the west side of the Lincoln Memorial. Volunteer activities will include, invasive species removal long the steps, and clearing debris, overgrown branches and trash and mulching around the Lincoln Memorial. Registration begins at 8:00 a.m at 23rd and Independence Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. Tools, snacks, and beverages will be provided.

National Park Service Acting Director Dan Wenk will be on the National Mall and at the White House Ellipse at 5 p.m. EDT to welcome volunteers who donated their time and effort to spruce up more than 30 national park sites in the Washington Metropolitan Area. At 7 p.m.Wenk will introduce a preview of the new Ken Burns film, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. The showing is free. The film debuts on PBS on September 27.

Among numerous activities, the Bureau of Land Management is hosting the first national Wild Horse Adoption Day in cooperation with other wild horse and humane animal advocacy groups. The day is dedicated to supporting and protecting the livelihood of wild horses. Participating organizations in this event hope to encourage more people to adopt these wonderful animals. One of the adoption sites planned for that day will be held in Lorton, Virginia at the BLM’s Meadowood recreation site (10406 Gunston Rd).

BLM organizes wild horse adoptions and manages wild horses and burros on the western public range lands. Adoptions can help BLM to control the wild horse and burro population from exceeding the carrying capacity of the western range lands.
For more information, contact Davida Carnahan (703) 440-1717 or by email at Davida_Carnahan@blm.gov. For more information on the application process, call 1-866-4MUSTANGS or visit www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/wild_horse_and_burro.html.

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Highlights of USDA Forest Service Volunteer
Effort for National Public Lands Day

George Washington & Jefferson National Forests, Virginia
The event at the historic Camp Roosevelt Recreation Area, America’s first Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp, will be a day of service with partners focused on enhancing and restoring the recreation area. Special emphasis will be placed on collaboration efforts for the benefit of America’s forests.

The Angeles National Forest, Lower Big Tujunga Canyon, California
The Angeles National Forest has planned a day-long event that provides opportunities for service to America’s public lands and celebrates connecting children with nature. The day begins at the Los Angeles Zoo, launching the Forest Service partnership with renowned wildlife artist Robert Bateman and his Get to Know program, which introduces children to wildlife. The event then moves to the Tujunga Canyon on the Angeles National Forest for stream restoration activities in an area recently impacted by the Station Fire.

The Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest and Pawnee National Grassland, Colorado
There will be five events in this region, coordinated with the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management to reflect the landscape-scale nature of the environmental challenges facing the region. The two events on the National Forest focus on volunteer activates that will restore watersheds and lessen the effects of climate change within a high-use urban forest. A reforestation project will occur at Lake Granby where volunteers will plant trees in areas devastated by pine beetle infestations. Other volunteers will work to improve wildlife habitats along a new motorized trail.

Deschutes National Forest, Oregon
The Wychus Creek watershed is one of five areas in the nation selected by the National Forest Foundation for their "Treasured Landscapes, Unforgettable Experiences" campaign. This event, located on the Whychus Creek, will include land and water restoration projects such as plantings, cleaning of trails and streams, and improvement to recreation areas. The event will be held in cooperation with groups working to enhance Oregon’s watersheds.

Uinta National Forest, Diamond Fork Youth Forest, Utah
The Diamond Fork Youth Forest is designed to provide opportunities for youth to serve public lands and connect them to nature. The event includes the installation of trail signs and the rehabilitation and maintenance of trails, and will include youth volunteers from two school districts working shoulder-to-shoulder with natural resource professionals to deal with challenges encountered in managing these public lands.

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Washington
This event showcases the importance of citizens being actively engaged in the stewardship of their public lands through partnerships, thereby enhancing the long-term sustainability of public lands and watersheds. Volunteers will work on the Marble Mountain Sno Pak project to improve trails, repair recreation facilities, and do litter removal at a well-loved local site.

Chugach National Forest, Alaska
The Chugach National Forest will officially launch the Chugach Children’s Forest and celebrate its first season of service at this event. The Children’s Forest provides a wide range of opportunities for youth to serve and care for their public lands, and teaches them about issues like climate change, forest restoration, and water conservation. It will serve as an organizing force for engaging our next generation of community and conservation leaders in public land management.

The Forest Service manages approximately 193 million acres of public lands across 155 national forests and 22 grasslands. For more information about National Public Lands Day or the Forest Service, visit: www.publiclandsday.org or www.fs.fed.us

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