KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Park services in the Volunteer State are hosting events and opportunities to practice land stewardship for National Public Lands Day, the largest single-day volunteer event in support of local, state and federal public lands in the nation. Tennesseans and visitors alike can join the Recreate Responsibly or Giving Back Together movements to help keep public lands clean and accessible for all.

National Public Lands Day is Saturday, Sept. 24 and there are several activities and events planned to commemorate it starting Friday, Sept. 23 and through the weekend as the fall season begins. According to the National Park Service, NPLD was established in 1994 as the fourth Saturday in September and is traditionally the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort.

“It celebrates the connection between people and green space in their community, inspires environmental stewardship, and encourages use of open space for education, recreation, and health benefits,” NPS states on its website regarding NPLD. “National Public Lands Day is special because it provides all lovers of the environment—old and new—an opportunity to show our appreciation for these unique places.”

For National Public Lands Day, all entrance fees are waived at all national parks in the U.S.

Fresh on the heels of naming its 57th park, officials with Tennessee State Parks are offering events this weekend in several locations. You can visit its calendar of events page to see which parks are offering NPLD events and when – click here.

Tennessee State Parks has been nationally recognized for professional management; however, the national day for public lands appreciation offers more opportunities for others to get involved.

The U.S. Forest Service, which is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is also celebrating NPLD in the spirit of “Giving Back Together.”

“The theme of giving back resonates with me as public lands continue to be a place of respite—providing much-needed healing through nature after two years of a global pandemic and, well, sometimes just everyday life,” writes conservation education contributor Melissa Taggart on the U.S. Forest Service website. “During the two years, public lands visitation surged, and so did the problems visitors can sometimes leave behind, like trash, broken signs, or trail damage.”

Millions of people visit public lands and parks each year. There are hundreds of volunteer events and fee-free days across the nation and in Tennessee. An events locator for National Public Lands Day can be found here.