Volunteering To Improve Your Public Lands is Fun and Rewarding

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posted on September 23, 2014
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Our national public lands are among America's most valuable treasures. Open to all, they offer citizens the outdoors recreation opportunities that have been treasured by generations-and will be treasured by generations to come. So why not take a day to volunteer to help your national forests stay beautiful? Saturday, September 27th marks the 21st annual National Public Lands day, and it's a perfect opportunity to give back to the lands that have given us all so much.

As part of this effort, the U.S. Forest Service in Georgia is offering a fee-free day on September 27 with events across Georgia's national forests. Both individuals and families are invited to enjoy these opportunities to join in an effort to improve the public lands they enjoy.

"If you love your national forests and the many recreation opportunities they have to offer, you have volunteers to thank," said Forest Supervisor Betty Mathews. "Volunteering is a fantastic way for you and your family to connect with nature and to other folks who share similar interests. And no experience is needed-there are always things that anyone can do, regardless of age or skill level, to improve the forest for future visitors."

Some of the scheduled events on Georgia's national forests include:

Jake Mountain Trail: Join the Blue Ridge Ranger District, Chattahoochee Trail Horse Association and Southern Off Road Bicycle Association (SORBA) at the Jake Mountain Trail in Lumpkin County from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for a day of trail maintenance, education and fun. Many opportunities for learning about trail sustainability and fisheries will be a part of the celebration! Trout Unlimited will give a talk around 2:00 p.m. describing their work to improve local fish habitat. All in attendance are invited to a lunch at approximately 1:30 p.m. Please register by contacting Valencia Morris at (706) 745-6928 [email protected].

Ocmulgee Bluff Trail System: Join the Oconee Ranger District, Back Country Horsemen of Central and South Georgia, Heart of Dixie Horse Lovers Club, Rockdale Trail Blazers and Georgia Horse Council for a trail work day on Ocmulgee Bluff Trail System in Jasper County beginning at 9:30 a.m. General maintenance will include surface hardening, trail clearing and tree planting at the trailhead. To sign up and for directions, contact Jeff McDonald by email [email protected] or call (706) 485-7110.

Volunteers should bring a lunch, snacks, or food to share, plenty of water, and a daypack to carry it all. They are asked to wear work gloves, sturdy shoes and bring a hard hat or bicycle helmet if one is owned. Most tools are provided by the Forest Service and partner organizations.

Among other partners, these National Public Lands Day events are supported by CoTrails, which is a collaborative effort among trail users and the Forest Service working together to develop a diverse, quality trail system that is maintainable and ecologically sustainable on the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests. Visit www.CoTrails.org for more information on these and other upcoming volunteer trail events.

For more information on how to get involved with volunteer efforts on the national forest, contact the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests office at (770) 297-3000 or visit the website at www.fs.usda.gov/conf. Smartphone and tablet users can also view news and events, including volunteer opportunities, by using the forest's free mobile app. Download the app by visiting www.fs.usda.gov/goto/mobile-app.

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