Get Out & Play: National Public Lands Day

Carol EvansFeature

This Saturday marks the 25th annual National Public Lands Day (NPLD). What is NLPD, anyway?  NPLD was established by the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), a nonprofit organization that was chartered by Congress in 1990 to partner with the EPA to advance environmental literacy nationwide. NEEF educates Americans to actively use environmental knowledge to ensure the well-being of the earth and its people.

This nationwide event brings together hundreds of thousands of volunteers to help restore the country’s public lands, and it is the largest single-day volunteer event for public lands in the country. Individuals and organizations can get involved through educational, recreational and volunteer events at public lands large and small, including national parks and forests, grasslands, lakes, reservoirs, state parks, wildlife refuges, historical sites and local city and county parks. Public lands make up 30 percent of the land in the country, and while managed by public agencies, public lands belong to and are enjoyed by all of us.

You can do your part this weekend through one of these volunteer workdays:

Or get out and play within the public lands in our own community:

  • Panther Creek State Park – group hike around the Ore Mine Trail, exploring different types of trees, animals, and enjoying nature.
  • Norris Dam State Park – this mountain bike challenge calls for only the best in the sport or enjoy a moderate two-mile hike around the Andrews Ridge Trails system.
  • Big Ridge State Park – easy hike along the Fisherman’s Trail to discuss many of the edible and medicinal plants that can be found in the park and their significance to the settlers that lived here in years past.

Find more information about these events and other ways to get out and play in our public lands at, a resource provided by Legacy Parks Foundation. Legacy Parks has been working for more than 10 years to help conserve, create and connect East Tennessee’s public lands to make this an even better place to live, work, and play.

You can leave your own legacy for our public lands this National Public Lands Day by becoming a Friend of Legacy Parks.

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