U.S. Forest Service and Volunteers Celebrate National Public Lands Day

Release Date: Sep 13, 2013  

Contact(s): Judy Toppins, 770-297-3061


The U.S. Forest Service is offering a fee-free day on Saturday, Sept. 28 in conjunction with the 20th annual National Public Lands Day, the nation's largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests and partnering organizations will host events across Georgia’s national forests that offer opportunities for individuals and families 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.”

National Public Lands Day encourages volunteers to explore and enjoy America's natural wonders through outdoor recreation. Volunteer opportunities on the Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests this year include maintaining and improving trails, installing signs, cleaning up along streams, and working to prevent the loss of hemlock trees.

Scheduled events on Georgia’s national forests include:

Raven Cliffs Trail (Chattooga River Ranger District), Saturday, September 28, 9:00 a.m., cosponsored by CoTrails. Volunteers should meet at the Raven Cliffs Trailhead on the Richard Russell Scenic Highway for a day of wilderness trail maintenance activities. To sign up and for directions,  or call (770) 297-3033.

Dicks Creek (Blue Ridge Ranger District), Saturday, September 21, cosponsored by Go Outdoors USA. Volunteers will meet along Dicks Creek road corridor in Lumpkin County for stream clean-up and maintenance activities. For more information and to sign-up, contact Barry Henson through www.gooutdoorsusa.org.

Helton Creek Falls Trail (Blue Ridge Ranger District), Thursday, September 26, 9:00 a.m., cosponsored by Mountain High Hikers Association, Inc.  Volunteers should meet at the Helton Creek Falls Trailhead in Union County for a day of trail maintenance activities. To sign-up and for directions,  or call (706) 745-6928.

Aska Multi-Use Trai l(Blue Ridge Ranger District), Saturday, September 28, 9:00 a.m., cosponsored by Ellijay Mountain Bike Association.  Volunteers should meet at the Deep Gap Trailhead in Fannin County for a day of trail maintenance activities.  To sign-up and for directions,  or call (706) 745-6928.

Ocmulgee Bluff Trail (Oconee Ranger District), Saturday, September 28, 9:30 a.m., cosponsored by Back Country Horsemen of Central and South Georgia, Heart of Dixie Horse Lovers Club, Rockdale Trail Blazers and Georgia Horse Council. Volunteers should meet at Ocmulgee Bluff Equestrian Trailhead in Jasper County for a day of trail maintenance activities.  To sign up and for directions  or call (706) 485-7110.

Dockery Lakeshore Trail (Blue Ridge Ranger District), Saturday, September 28, 10:00 a.m., cosponsored by Yahoola Trails Conservancy. Volunteers should meet at Dockery Lake Recreation Area in Lumpkin County for a day of trail maintenance activities.  To sign-up and for directions,  or call (706) 745-6928.

Clements Branch Hemlock Conservation Area (Blue Ridge Ranger District), Saturday, September 28, reservations required, sponsored by Save Georgia’s Hemlocks and Benton MacKaye Trail Association. Volunteers may join a “Hike and Help the Hemlocks” event near on the Union/Fannin County border to treat hemlock trees and learn more through a hike followed by a lunch and learn picnic.  To sign up and for directions  or call (706) 429-8010.

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.

The Forest Service offers six fee-free days in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, National Get Outdoors Day, National Public Lands Day and Veterans Day Weekend. Fees are waived generally for day use areas, such as picnic grounds and developed trailheads. Fees are not waived for concessionaire-operated facilities or for overnight use such as camping. Contact your local national forest office to learn if your destination requires a fee and if that fee is waived.

Visit the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests website for more information or to download our free app for smartphones at www.fs.usda.gov/conf, or call (770) 297-3000. For more information about National Public Lands Day, visit the website at www.publiclandsday.org.

 

The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests provide the finest outdoor recreation opportunities and natural resources in Georgia. Featuring nearly 118,000 acres of designated Wilderness, hundreds of miles of clear-running streams and rivers, approximately 850 miles of recreation trails, and dozens of campgrounds, picnic areas, and other recreation activity opportunities, these lands are rich in natural scenery, history and culture. The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests is part of the Southern Region, with the Forest Supervisor’s office in Gainesville, Georgia, managing four District units in Blairsville (Blue Ridge District), Lakemont (Chattooga River District), Chatsworth (Conasauga District), and Eatonton (Oconee District). 

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