Celebrate Nat'l Public Lands Day & Volunteer

Teton Range framed by fall colors
September 15, 2009
In recognition of the 16th annual National Public Lands Day, Grand Teton National Park will waive entrance fees (including commercial tour fees) on Saturday, September 26. National Public Lands Day also serves as the nation’s largest volunteer undertaking: an opportunity for individuals and communities to improve the natural and cultural treasures that Americans enjoy and value. As part of the 2009 event, Grand Teton is calling for a “Grand Day of Public Service for America’s Best Idea: the National Parks” by inviting volunteers to join park staff in accomplishing several hands-on projects.

Anyone volunteering at Grand Teton on September 26 will be invited to begin their day of service by viewing a 45-minute video by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, titled This is America, at 8 a.m. in the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center. After the film, volunteers will help with projects such as the rehabilitation and revegetation of Schwabacher’s Landing on the Snake River, replacement of wooden benches at the Jenny Lake campground circle, exhibit cleaning at the Discovery Center, and various fence removal projects across the park. The day of service culminates with a picnic lunch at 1 p.m. sponsored by the Grand Teton Association—the park’s non-profit partner of 72 years. To sign up for this community volunteer day, please call the Craig Thomas Discovery Center at 307.739.3391.

Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott invites members of the Jackson Hole community to join park staff in making the 2009 National Public Lands Day especially memorable. “September is such a wonderful time to enjoy the beauty of Grand Teton and its wildlife,” said Superintendent Scott. “Thanks to the new Ken Burns documentary film highlighting national parks, this year promises to be an even more compelling time to visit any one of the 391 national park units, to get involved, and show your personal appreciation through volunteering.”

Episode one of Ken Burns’ 6-part documentary series—titled The National Parks: America’s Best Idea— is scheduled to air on WyomingPBS on Sunday evening, September 27.

National Public Lands Day began in 1994 with a purpose to increase awareness of the value of all public lands, to foster shared stewardship of America’s national resources, and to encourage people to volunteer their time. Federal land agencies have created partnerships with private individuals and citizen groups in an effort to improve, restore or enhance public lands and to provide opportunities for education, outdoor recreation, and enjoyment. Eight federal agencies and many state and local partners, plus dozens of non-profit organizations, several national sponsors, and tens of thousands of individuals are expected to participate in this annual day of caring for our shared lands. Last year, 120,000 volunteers participated in projects across the country; many dedicated individuals and organizations are expected to help this year.

National Public Lands Day is the only time that entrance fees are systematically waived on public lands across America. In addition to national park units, fees will be waived at other land management sites, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Forest Service areas. In addition to National Public Lands Day, United States veterans are admitted free to national parks each year on Veteran’s Day in November.