This month nature is calling for families and people of all ages to help clean up public lands and connect with the outdoors through two of America's traditional pastimes.
September 27 is both National Public Lands Day and National Hunting and Fishing Day. Both events highlight the Nation's bountiful natural resources and encourage families and people of all ages to get outside?and get involved.
"America's public lands and fish and wildlife resources are for everyone to enjoy, but also to conserve and help sustain for future generations," said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director H. Dale Hall. "These two events not only give us a reason to get outdoors, they also remind us that nature needs us as much as we need her."
National Public Lands Day is the nation's largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance public lands. In 2007, 110,000 volunteers built trails and bridges, planted trees and native vegetation, and removed trash and invasive plants.
And it's a day when people can visit all Federal lands--including national wildlife refuges--without paying an entry fee. This year, September 27 and 28 will be "fee free" days on national wildlife refuges and many other Federal lands.
Volunteers will get a coupon they can use on any other day to enter a national wildlife refuge or other Federal land without paying an entry fee. About 38 national wildlife refuges charge entry fees, while entrance to the remainder of the approximately 380 national wildlife refuges open to the public is free of charge.
National Hunting and Fishing Day is sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. About 270 national wildlife refuges have fishing programs, and more than 300 hunting programs are offered on national wildlife refuges across the country.
"The more time families and children spend outdoors, the more likely they will learn to nurture nature and embrace conservation values," Hall said. "Hunting and fishing are two great ways to do that."
In addition, the National Wildlife Refuge System has compiled the first comprehensive online guide to refuge hunting opportunities nationwide. Written to help hunters plan their next adventure, Your Guide to Hunting on National Wildlife Refuges is organized by state. It not only gives a brief description of each hunting program, but also indicates which species can be hunted, provides directions to refuges, and includes special stories on subjects such as hunting safety and archery hunting. Your Guide to Hunting on National Wildlife Refuges is available online at http://www.fws.gov/refuges/hunting/
For a list of National Public Lands Day and National Hunting and Fishing Day events at refuges, hatcheries and other Service lands and facilities near you, visit http://www.fws.gov/refuges/SpecialEvents/FWS_SpecialEvents_Search.cfm
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
visit our home page at http://www.fws.gov