Imagine for a moment what Colorado would be like without the beautiful open spaces and public lands. What if we had no trails to hike, fields to run through, or rivers and lakes to fish? Left uncared for and unattended, our public lands would deteriorate. Or perhaps worse, be developed. It’s up to us to keep these lands, state parks, and open spaces pristine for both our enjoyment and for generations to follow.
National Public Lands Day—this Saturday—is an ideal time to pitch in and help tend to the land. Volunteer opportunities abound. Here, a few of my favorites:
1. Restore well-used trails, close eroding and dangerous footpaths, and remove non-native weeds in Red Rocks Park with Volunteer Outdoors of Colorado.
2. Fishermen and women—and other water lovers—can help improve fishing access, construct fish habitats, and stabilize the shoreline in Bear Creek Lake Park with the City of Lakewood.
3. Prepare the Cache La Poudre Canyon north of Fort Collins for protective, controlled burns—the first project of its kind in Colorado—on a two-day camping trip with the Wildlands Restoration Volunteers/US Forest Service.
4. Sweep the South Platte of debris with the Greenway Foundation. Remove litter, paint bridges, lay mulch, and improve trails.
5. Equestrians may be interested in building a connector trail—especially great for trail rides—in Gunnison Gorge with the Colorado Mountain Club.
None of these projects sound interesting? Choose from several more on the Public Lands Day website.
Bonus: If you feel like you're already doing your part and want a day to celebrate outdoors, admission is free to all national parks and open spaces on Saturday.