The nation's largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands is set for Saturday, Sept. 30, aiming to inspire environmental stewardship and encourage use of public lands for education, recreation and health.
National Public Lands Day offers a variety of programs at state and federal parks to encourage people to visit their public lands. Locally, there will be hikes that spotlight nature's beauty, park histories and some that include trail maintenance. All events are free.
National Public Lands Day Events
* Booker T. Washington State Park: 5801 Champion Road, 10 a.m.-noon, meet at the pool parking lot.
Join a ranger on a walking tour of the park for a discussion of its history. The walk will highlight the park's new educational kiosks that feature information about the life of Booker T. Washington. The tour will be about 2 miles or less at a slow pace; bring water and wear walking shoes.
* Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park: 8:30 a.m., meet in lower parking lot of Visitor Center.
Activities will focus on repairing/replacing the walking path located at the historic Brotherton Cabin (Tour Stop 4) in Chickamauga Battlefield.
Come dressed for outdoor work and wear clothes you do not mind getting dirty. For safety reasons and due to the nature of the work, clothing should include long-sleeved shirts, long pants, work gloves, tennis shoes or work boots and a cap. Bring sunscreen, bug spray and plenty of water to drink.
After the event, an interpretive program will be provided by park staff beginning at 2 p.m. at the Visitor Center.
* Cloudland Canyon State Park: 122 Cloudland Canyon Park Road, Rising Fawn, Ga., 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Friends of Cloudland Canyon State Park host service projects.
' Fall Creek Falls State Park: 10821 Park Road, Spencer, Tenn., 9 a.m. CDT, meet at Fall Creek Falls' main overlook.
Join park staff in clearing overlooks around the scenic loop of the park. Bring plenty of water and work gloves and wear closed-toe shoes.
* Fort Mountain State Park: 181 Fort Mountain Park Road, Chatsworth, Ga., 9 a.m.-noon.
Volunteers needed to help with everything from picking up litter to installing new timbers that will help prevent erosion around Lake Trail. No parking pass necessary if volunteering with this project.
* Harrison Bay State Park: 8411 Harrison Bay Road, 6:30-8 p.m.
Help remove trash along the Bay Point Loop Trail shoreline while enjoying a gorgeous view of the sun setting over Harrison Bay.
* Hiwassee/Ocoee Scenic River State Park: 404 Spring Creek Road, Delano, Tenn., 2-6 p.m., meet at park office.
Take part in a 1.5-mile hike along the Hiwassee River on the John Muir Trail at 2 p.m. The group will stop for a potluck lunch followed by a rock-skipping competition. The winner of the competition will get the T-shirt of their choice. After that, the hike continues down the trail to finish off the 3-mile section.The group will return between 5:30 and 6 p.m.
This is a hike of average difficulty and is not handicap-accessible. Bring comfortable walking shoes that you don't mind getting wet, snacks to share with the group and something to drink.
* Point Park: 110 Point Park Road, Lookout Mountain, 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
Ranger-guided programs at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. beginning at park gate; park admission fee waived for the day.
* Red Clay State Park: 1140 Red Clay Park Road, Cleveland, Tenn., 10 a.m.-noon, meet at gazebo.
Join a ranger for a mile hike that will cover the traditional tour, as well as a hike down a beautiful Blue Hole Trail that parallels Blue Hole Creek. Bring water, bug spray, sunscreen and wear sturdy hiking shoes.