ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – More than 175 volunteers participated in events at three District lakes in observance of National Public Lands Day, Sept. 22, 2018.
NPLD is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. It began in 1994 with three sites and 700 volunteers and became a yearly tradition. Last year, more than 13,000 volunteers served 47,000 hours on USACE-managed lands, removing 152,000 pounds of trash, cleaning 1,400 miles of roadways and shoreline, improving 360 acres of habitat, and engaging 303 partner organizations.
ABIQUIU LAKE, N.M.
Sixty-six volunteers, including members of the Abiquiu Volunteer Fire Department, showed up at the lake on Saturday, Sept. 22, to assist project staff with activities such as litter pickup, graffiti removal, tree planting, and trail marking. Local radio station KDCE conducted a live broadcast and provided music for the event.
“Unusually low water exposed years of trash normally hidden by the water. This, combined with unusually hard-working volunteers, resulted in over 1,000 pounds of trash being collected,” said Austin Kuhlman, lead park ranger. “The weather was perfect, everyone had a great time and got lots of good work done. This event was a fitting way to mark 25 years of NPLD.”
COCHITI LAKE, N.M.
"The Cochiti Lake National Public Lands Day event was a great success. We had an excellent volunteer turnout and a smooth operation due to the preparatory efforts by staff; staging equipment; posting on social media; and reaching out to partners within the local community,” said Trevor Wallin, lead park ranger, Cochiti Lake.
Seventy-five volunteers signed up and worked for four hours on NPLD, totaling 300 volunteer hours. They planted 80 native trees and shrubs “as part of Cochiti Lake Project's efforts to improve the recreation area for both wildlife and visitors alike,” said Wallin.
SANTA ROSA LAKE, N.M.
“The NPLD event at Santa Rosa was well organized and the support from the local Santa Rosa school district was essential to a successful event,” said Gary Cordova, Santa Rosa project office manager.
Approximately 40 volunteers came out to the lake to assist with shoreline cleanup on NPLD. Volunteers included students from Santa Rosa High School and Santa Rosa Middle School.
“It was a success as we picked up about 350 pounds of trash along the shoreline and around the Juniper Park, day use, and boat ramp recreation facilities,” said Paul Sanchez, park ranger.