Answers to frequent questions about National Public Lands Day (NPLD)
You asked, we answered! Below are commonly asked questions about NEEF's National Public Lands Day (NPLD). If you don't see your question here, feel free to contact us!
About National Public Lands Day (NPLD)
NEEF's National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation’s largest single-day volunteer event for public lands. It is held annually on the fourth Saturday in September. NPLD is also a “Fee-Free Day”—entrance fees are waived at national parks and other public lands. NEEF (the National Environmental Education Foundation) coordinates National Public Lands Day.
NPLD brings together hundreds of thousands of individual and organizational volunteers to help restore the country’s public lands. These are the places Americans use for outdoor recreation, education, and just plain enjoyment. The lands encompass national parks, monuments, wildlife refuges, forests, grasslands, marine sanctuaries, lakes, and reservoirs, as well as state, county, and city parks that are managed by public agencies but belong to and are enjoyed by all of us.
Through volunteer service on National Public Lands Day as well as grant support to local organizations, NEEF helps ensure people of all ages and abilities have the opportunity to connect with public lands for recreation, hands-on learning, and community-building—now and in the future.
The 30th annual National Public Lands Day celebration will take place on Saturday, September 23, 2023. The date is different every year, but it always falls on the fourth Saturday in September.
NEEF is a nonprofit organization that was chartered by Congress in 1990 to partner with the EPA to advance environmental literacy nationwide. NEEF works to make the environment more accessible, relatable, relevant, and connected to the daily lives of all Americans.
NEEF's interactive map is also the definitive location for Site Managers and volunteers to locate NPLD events happening near them.
You can visit or bookmark our NPLD page, which is your main destination for all things NPLD. You can also sign up for email alerts there as well. Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitterusing the hashtag#NPLD.
Email NPLD@neefusa.org with any questions or for more specific information about National Public Lands Day.
While NEEF serves as the national coordinator, National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is supported by a diverse range of partners. This includes seven federal agency partners such as the US Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service, as well as over 250 state, county, city, university, and school partners, and many parks and recreation departments. In particular, Toyota Motor North America has been the national sponsor of NPLD for over 20 years, encouraging its employees to participate in the nation's parks, forests, rivers, beaches, and other public lands. To date, over 4,000 Toyota employees and their families have volunteered at more than 470 sites on NPLD, donating the equivalent of over $5 million in volunteer time.
Organizing an NPLD Event
Watch our helpful video guide on event registration:
You will need to create an account as a Site Manager, which is free and easy to do. Simply visit the Site Manager page and follow the instructions to create an account and register your NPLD event. With an account, you can create, edit, publish, and save events, making them easy to reuse annually. You will be able to include event details, photos, and all important contact and sign up information about your event. You will also receive important information about NPLD planning from NEEF.
NPLD brings together hundreds of thousands of individuals to help restore the country’s public lands at the federal, state, and local level. Participating federal agencies include the US Bureau of Land Management, Department of Defense, National Park Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Department of the Interior, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and USDA Forest Service.
Any federal, state, local, county or regional land or waterway held in the public trust and/or spaces that are accessible to the public. Examples of public lands can include (but are not limited to) national forests, national parks and monuments, national wildlife refuges, and state/local lands that are accessible to the public, such as state parks and forests, community gardens, and urban green spaces.
There are many reasons for public lands sites to consider hosting an NPLD event. With its status as the nation's largest single-day volunteer event for public lands, NPLD receives considerable attention and press at the local and national level. Its prominence serves as a catalyst to attract new volunteers and visitors to your public land. Once a person is introduced to your park as a volunteer, they will want to return again and again as a visitor.
Yes! Any state, local, or regional public lands can host an NPLD event. School grounds and community gardens can also participate. There is no limitation on the size or the managing agency of the public land. As long as the land is held in the public trust (not private land) and accessible to the public, it can be an NPLD site.
No! Events range from small family trail clean-ups to 2,000 person mega-events that mobilize entire communities. You can even host a virtual event!
To make changes to an event, access your account by visiting the Sign-In page and entering your login credentials. After logging in, you will see a list of your active events. Click on the name of the event to open it and edit its information as necessary. Make sure to save before exiting!
If you are unable to reset your password using the "Reset my Password" link, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your full name, place of employment, and email address so we can retrieve your password.
Due to their classification as federal government currency and funding, we can only distribute fee-free coupons to participating federal agencies.
In situations where you had to reschedule your NPLD event (due to inclement weather, etc.) you are free to distribute the coupons at that event. If you have extra from an NPLD event you have already held, we ask that you shred them.
Volunteering at NPLD
Volunteers connect with nature through service by giving their time to our nation's public lands. This includes everything from planting trees and native vegetation, building and refurbishing trails, removing trash and invasive plants, repairing bridges, restoring historic structures, monitoring endangered species, restoring habitats, attending virtual hikes and ranger talks—you name it!
National Public Lands Day is a fantastic opportunity to get off the couch and out into beautiful natural settings. Volunteers can participate as a family or with school, community, or national groups such as the Student Conservation Association, Outdoor Nation, Boy Scouts of America, or Girl Scouts of the USA. The event is a great opportunity to get kids outside and help erase the “nature deficit” among the next generation. All volunteers will get the satisfaction that comes from preserving and protecting their favorite public places, along with the physical exercise and family togetherness of a day full of enhancing, planting, and beautifying.
However, even if you are not able to physically attend an NPLD event, you can still connect to iconic parks, national forests, marine estuaries, and other public lands sites through one-of-a-kind virtual events such as ranger talks, virtual hikes and dives, and online citizen science projects that are both entertaining and educational.
Any project that benefits public lands can be registered for NPLD. The majority of projects are focused on habitat restoration, such as tree plantings, trash or invasive plant removal, bird or bat house construction, trail maintenance, fence removal, and gardening. Historic sites typically host beautification projects including trash pick-ups, painting, sculpture renovation, and other needed projects.
Some public lands do not have the ability to host volunteer events. In these cases, they usually hold some sort of education programming, both virtual and on-site. Examples include hikes, talks on public land issues, fishing derbys, festivals, classes on water quality testing, and geocaching programs.
Absolutely not! Volunteering is not a requirement to celebrate NPLD. As a "fee-free" day at participating public lands, NPLD offers an opportunity to connect with nature and enjoy the outdoors with friends and family through activities like hiking, picnicking, and exploring our shared public spaces.
Participating federal land management agencies (Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, and Department of Defense), in conjunction with the National Environmental Education Foundation, can provide “Fee-Free coupons” to NPLD volunteers in recognition of their invaluable service to our nation’s public lands.
Each coupon entitles the recipient and their family or vehicle companions to one “Fee-Free” day at any participating federal recreation or visitor site within one calendar year.
You can use the Fee-Free coupons for any participating federal recreation or visitor site, not only the one you volunteered at.