Did you know that last year nearly 282 MILLION people from all corners of the globe visited OUR National Parks? I believe that’s because the United States (via the National Parks System) has set aside some of the most spectacular natural and historical locations on the planet and they’re right in your backyard.
Did you also know that the National Park Service is celebrating it’s 100th birthday in 2016? Wouldn’t you love to celebrate and give back a little for 100 years of preserving and protecting our most beautiful places?
I recently discovered a service-oriented organization that could help you give back to the parks and enjoy an adventure too! In 2014 Wilderness Volunteers donated 21,452 volunteer hours to our public lands, worth an estimated $495,000!
Wilderness Volunteers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit created to organize and promote volunteer service to America’s wild lands. They work with public land agencies including the National Park Service, the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Their trip season typically runs from March through October. The minimum age is 18 years old, but all ages beyond that are welcome, as long as you can do the work that needs to be done. All food including meals and snacks are provided. They offer a selection of trips with a variety of service projects. Transportation to and from the project is up to you.
They recently released the list of projects for 2016 and they’ll be going to places like Jedidiah Smith Wilderness in Wyoming, Lyell Canyon, Yosemite National Park in California, Acadia National Park on the coast of Maine plus many destinations around the U.S. It looks like the more unique destinations fill up pretty quickly so check out the list here and see if there are any projects that you’d be interested in helping with. Here’s an excerpt from their description of a project at the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.
“For this service project, we will be assisting the Park’s vegetation crew with needed management tasks on the South Rim. We will do a combination of removal of invasive plant species (Marrubium vulgare, Common horehound), restoration work and various tasks in the Park’s nursery. We will camp together in a group site at the Mather Campground, with amenities such as running water, flush toilets and showers.
Join us in 2016 as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park System by giving something back at Grand Canyon National Park.”
EACH TRIP COSTS ONLY $299 PER PERSON FOR 7 DAYS! That’s a steal.
They don’t charge the agencies for their work, but the agencies supply tools and supervision for the projects. Participants provide their own camping gear (a list specific to each trip will be mailed with registration confirmation), a sense of adventure, and a willingness to contribute time and energy to worthy projects.
It’s incredible how much work a group of helpful volunteers can do in a week’s time! All trips are led by volunteer leaders. Trips are one week long and partial attendance is not accepted. Each project is limited to 12 or fewer participants which provides a perfect size group to feel comfortable and still be manageable. Are you wondering if you’d be up for the task physically? Here are more details about who can volunteer.
Participants share camp chores. Most trips include extra time to explore and enjoy the area in which they are based. Wilderness Volunteers teaches and follows Leave No Trace® outdoor living skills and ethics.
Most of all, with the help of folks like you, Wilderness Volunteers are making a difference in addressing the backlog of maintenance on public land in cooperation with our partner agencies. Thank you to all who are participating in keeping America beautiful for our next generation of explorers.
So what do you have planned for the NPS’ 100th Birthday?