SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Nearly 1,000 volunteers pitched in at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District parks across central California for the 21st annual National Public Lands Day Sept. 27.
The Corps has been involved with National Public Lands Day since its inception in 1994 and has consistently been one of the event’s largest providers of sites and volunteers. The event is the largest single-day community service project in the country.
Groups like the Boy and Girl scouts, student clubs and community organizations joined with individual volunteers to help with the maintenance and appearance of the parks that belong to the public.
“We’re out here with 39 kids and seven adults to help clean up because this is part of our community,” said Roche Avenue Elementary School principal Patty Jorgensen. Students from the Porterville school made the trip to Success Lake on Saturday to help out. “Plus I want them to know that it is their job to take care of our lands.”
Volunteers and Corps parks staff worked together on jobs like clearing trails, removing litter, planting trees and freshening up camping facilities.
“National Public Lands Day is a great opportunity for us to really work with the community on the projects that the community enjoys year-round,” said Sacramento District commander, Col. Mike Farrell. “It’s just a really good opportunity to better understand each other and work better together in the future.”
A group of freshman students from the University of Pacific in Stockton came out to support the celebration at nearby New Hogan Lake.
“It’s their first year in college, they’re away from home most of them, so we wanted to get them out here and show them that service is fun, it’s important, and that they can also meet a lot of new people as well,” said student coordinator Jessica Tam.
Volunteers received a complementary night of camping, a free day pass at any participating federal land or national park and lunch after they were done for the day.
National Public Lands Day 2014 events were held at more than 2,000 sites across the country.