While we can’t turn back the calendar, we can turn out and make a difference. Summer is the busiest time of year for NPS site visitation and our beloved public lands could use a little TLC. Join the nation’s largest single-day volunteer event and take part in a work project at a national park near you.
Your hard work won’t go unrewarded. In addition to giving back to the public lands that have given so much to generations of Americans, all volunteers will receive a fee-free day coupon to be used for a future visit. And don’t forget to share your photos on social media with #NPSVolunteer, #FindYourPark and #NPLD. We want to see your National Public Lands Day adventures—galoshes and all.
On a more serious note: while we enjoy the great outdoors this weekend, we should bear in mind the importance of preserving the national parks and ensuring its ever-growing maintenance backlog is tackled. These treasures are significant to our shared culture and vital to the American economy. In 2018, 318 million visitors to national parks spent $20.2 billion in and around NPS sites, generating a total economic impact of $40.1 billion and supporting 329,000 jobs. Gateway communities across the country rely on well-maintained parks and robust visitation, but the $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog throws the parks’ future into uncertainty.
U.S. Travel urges Congress to support the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act (H.R. 1225) and the Restore Our Parks Act (S. 500) to establish a dedicated source of funding for the national parks and ensure their viability for generations to come.