Sept. 25– In recognition of National Public Lands Day, Tennessee State Parks and State Natural Areas invite the public to take part in hikes and volunteer activities across the state on Saturday, Sept. 28.
This year’s theme is "Helping Hands for America’s Land." Each of the 54 Tennessee State Parks will have scheduled hikes and volunteer opportunities. A Tennessee State Parks/National Public Lands Day 2013 commemorative hiking stick medallion will be given to the first 1,000 participants across the state.
At Pickwick Landing State Park, join Ranger David Hancock for an afternoon hike on the Island Loop Trail. Meet at the trail head which is beside Cabin 9 at 2 p.m. It will be a moderately difficult hike of about 2.5 miles that will take about 1.5 hours. Sturdy shoes or toe covered sandals are recommended. Hikers may wish to bring a day pack or fanny pack with water, light jacket and rain gear. The two-hour hike with a 15 person limit will go on in light rain, but not severe weather.
National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest one-day, volunteer stewardship event. Last year, more than 175,000 volunteers across the country built trails, planted trees and removed litter to improve America’s shared lands for all who visit them.
"National Public Lands Day is a wonderful tradition that combines the opportunity to get outdoors with the spirit of volunteerism," said Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau. "Tennessee is the Volunteer State and we encourage everyone to join us in this statewide effort, helping us preserve and protect our great state parks and natural areas."
National Public Lands Day began in 1994 with just three federal agencies and 700 volunteers. Today, this annual program of the National Environmental Education Foundation has grown to involve more than 105,000 volunteers at over 2,000 locations in every state across the nation. Those interested in organizing a National Public Lands Day project or volunteering can call (202) 833-2933, or go to www.publiclandsday.org.
"There are events across Tennessee ranging from hikes to cleanups to trail maintenance and the removal of invasive species," said Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill. "We appreciate all of the volunteers who will be spending their time helping to preserve our public lands in Tennessee for all to enjoy them."