This Land is Our Land
New Mexicans are lucky in that more than 45% of our land is publicly owned. These public lands include our National Forests, Parks, Monuments and Wildlife Refuges, Wilderness Areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers, BLM lands, State Parks among others. We are lucky because we can hike, bike, raft, ride, camp and explore vast expanses of our state. One way we can show our appreciation for this privilege is to volunteer for National Public Lands Day.
National Public Lands Day is one day a year that groups of Americans nationwide come together to show their appreciation for these public lands. The 14th annual National Public Lands day is September 29, 2007. By visiting www.PublicLandsDay.org you can find a list of volunteer events in your area where you can lend a hand. Volunteer activities may include tree planting, trail building and maintenance, general cleanup, or invasive plant removal.
I've volunteered at NPLD events in the past and have enjoyed myself greatly. I went with a large group to clean up some BLM land southwest of Santa Fe which had been used as an illegal dump. The amount of trash we removed from only a couple of acres of land was astonishing. Yes, it was definitely work, but we volunteers were greatly appreciated, well fed and watered and given a t-shirt. But, the best part of the day was a tour of the nearby petroglyphs. Our guide was an archaeologist who described how the petroglyphs documented thousands of years of local history, trade and culture. It's hard to describe how gratifying it was to see how my own work was preserving thousands of year old history just a few miles from home.
I highly recommend looking over the list of National Public Lands Day events in your area and giving a day of your time to preserving and maintaining the lands that we all own. It's a great way to see and learn about the public lands in your area and to take stewardship of them.