Midtown Raleigh News

Volunteers give public lands some TLC as part of National Public Lands Day

Whether they’re hiking a trail or paddling a canoe, volunteers can show local public lands some love Saturday as part of National Public Lands Day.

The 20th annual day of volunteering at parks and other public lands includes activities in Raleigh, Wake Forest and across the state.

“We have a whole bunch of great events to come out to,” Sean Higgins, interpretation and education manager for the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation, which organizes some of the local events. “It really helps build a sense of community.”

Last year, about 175,000 volunteers at more than 2,000 sites nationwide participated in the day.

Local volunteers can participate in a Monarch butterfly tagging field trip at the Falls Lake recreation area, clean up litter or clear brush on the Falls Lake trail, spruce up the new Wake Forest Reservoir trails or clean up lake shorelines from a canoe in William B. Umstead State Park.

Higgins said he’s seen participation in the day grow in North Carolina in his seven years with the department. Just a few years ago, only three or four parks would plan an event. This year, nine service projects are planned throughout the parks system, as well as other special events, such as hikes that recognize the day.

In Wake Forest, volunteers who help pick up trash along the Wake Forest Reservoir trails also can participate in a ceremony to recognize members of Boy Scout Troop 5. The scouts worked with the town’s Greenway Advisory Board to help create more than 1 1/2 miles of soft trail at the reservoir.

The town plans to continue the trail so that it makes a full loop around the reservoir.