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Posted 9/23/2013

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced Sept. 17, that it will waive day use fees at its more than 2,400 USACE-operated recreation areas nationwide in recognition of National Public Lands Day (NPLD) on Sept. 28. On this day, fees normally charged at boat launch ramps and swimming beaches will be waived.

The waiver does not apply to camping and camping-related services, or fees for specialized facilities such as group picnic shelters. In addition, volunteers who participate in one of USACE’s National Public Lands Day activities will be issued a fee-free coupon if the volunteer site is participating in the coupon program. The fee-free coupon is valid for one year from date of issue and may be used for one day of entrance or day use fees at any participating federal agency’s park, forest or recreation area that charges either of these types of fees.

What is National Public Lands Day?

NPLD is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. It began in 1994 with three sites and 700 volunteers. In 2012, about 175,000 volunteers worked at 2,206 sites in every state, the District of Columbia and many U.S. territories.

Nationally, in 2012 NPLD volunteers:
- Collected an estimated 23,000 pounds of invasive plants;
- Built and maintained an estimated 1,500 miles of trails;
- Planted an estimated 100,000 trees, shrubs and other native plants;
- Removed an estimated 500 tons of trash from trails and other places;
- Contributed an estimated $18 million through volunteer services to improve public lands across the country.

Across USACE-operated sites, more than 16,000 volunteers worked to clean 1,800 miles of shoreline, maintain 111 miles of trails, and plant some 4,700 trees and shrubs.

National Public Lands Day keeps the promise of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the "tree army" that worked from 1933-1942 to preserve and protect America's natural heritage.

NPLD educates Americans about the environment and natural resources, and the need for shared stewardship of these valued, irreplaceable lands; builds partnerships between the public sector and the local community based upon mutual interests in the enhancement and restoration of America's public lands; improves public lands for outdoor recreation, with volunteers assisting land managers in hands-on work.

Thousands of local volunteers are expected to support the more than 215 USACE sites participating in this year’s 20th annual National Public Lands Day.

USACE has been involved with National Public Lands Day since its inception in 1994 and has consistently been one of the event’s largest providers of sites and volunteers. As the nation’s leading federal provider of outdoor and water-based recreation, USACE manages 422 lake and river projects in 43 states. With 90 percent of these projects located within 50 miles of metropolitan areas, USACE sites provide a wide range of safe, affordable, outdoor recreation opportunities close to home.

Albuquerque District is hosting five NPLD events this year:

Abiquiu Lake Info:
Abiquiu Lake will host its 11th Annual National Public Lands Day event with three work projects including trail maintenance, native plant landscaping and a shoreline/river cleanup.
Additionally, KDCE radio (Espanola, NM) will perform a live broadcast promoting water safety, the Wildlife Center from Espanola will provide environmental interpretation with live animals and Corps rangers will offer water safety interpretation and games.
Time: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., starting at the main boat ramp parking area.
Contact: John Mueller (505.685.4371)

Cochiti Lake Info:
Due to high water levels, NPLD activities scheduled for Sept. 28th are being postponed and rescheduled.

Cochiti staff aims to reschedule volunteer work for the first 2 weekends in October and appreciates the patience and efforts of volunteers. Stay posted to either the Cochiti Lake or Albuquerque District Facebook pages or the Cochiti Lake webpage for official updates.

Conchas Lake Info:
Volunteers will help clean up fallen tree debris, the shoreline and roadsides at the South, Central and North Recreation Areas. After the clean-up, stay for dam tours, volleyball, horseshoes and a BBQ! Time: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Contact: Valerie Mavis/Michael Vollmer (575.868.2221)

John Martin Reservoir Info:
Volunteers will clear critical habitat areas of invasive species of weeds and tamarisk to make nesting areas for the endangered and threatened piping plover and least tern birds. If you have gloves, rakes and/or shovels, bring them!
Time: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.,
Contact: Karen Downey (719.336.3476 or 719.383.0323)

Santa Rosa Lake Info:
Activities for volunteers at Santa Rosa include trail clean up, building fish shelters and tree planting.
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Contact: Michael Lucey (575.472.3115)

Abiquiu Lake albuquerque district cochiti lake Conchas Lake Corps of Engineers fees John Martin Reservoir National Public Lands Day NPLD public lands recreation Santa Rosa Lake USACE volunteer