Forest Service offers fee-free day for National Public Lands Day

In conjunction with the 20th annual National Public Lands Day - the U.S. Forest Service is offering a fee-free day September 28th. U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell says the announcement is part of the USDA for all Seasons campaign - which seeks to educate the public on all the ways the department's agencies programs help communities and their economies every day. Tidwell says America's national forests and grasslands are beautiful places with so much to offer. The Forest Service hopes people will get outside and volunteer on National Public Lands Day to enjoy these places while improving them for future visitors. Six fee-free days are offered by the Forest Service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, National Get Outdoors Day, National Public Lands Day and Veterans Day Weekend. Fees are generally waived for day use areas - such as picnic grounds, developed trailheads and destination visitor centers. Fees are not waived for concessionaire-operated facilities or for overnight use such as camping or recreation rentals. To learn if your destination requires a fee and if that fee is waived - contact your local national forest. People can also find information at publiclandsday dot org (http://publiclandsday.org).

In 2012 - about 175-thousand volunteers worked at more than 22-hundred sites in every state, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories - making it the largest participation in the event's history. Those volunteers collected an estimated 500 tons of trash and 23-thousand pounds of invasive plants; planted 100-thousand trees and other plants; and built or maintained 15-hundred miles of trails. Additionally - almost 108-thousand volunteers and service members contributed 4.3-million hours on critical projects on national forests, grasslands and prairies. Their service was valued at close to 94-million dollars.

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