Established in 1994 and held annually on the fourth Saturday in September, National Public Lands Day was envisioned as a nationwide day of volunteering where people come together to connect with, conserve and celebrate America’s greenspaces and natural getaway places. Interested volunteers across the Tennessee River Valley watershed can join in a local event organized to steward their favorite playspot.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Sept. 11, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — The last Saturday of September is always the first day of a brighter conservation future.
For individuals and groups who love spending quality time on the rivers, lakes and recreation lands of the Tennessee River Valley, there are opportunities in September to volunteer to preserve, conserve, protect and improve the locations and destinations.
Established in 1994 and held annually on the fourth Saturday in September, National Public Lands Day was envisioned as a nationwide day of volunteering where people come together to connect with, conserve and celebrate America’s greenspaces and natural getaway places.
Across the seven-state spanning Tennessee River drainage area, volunteer cleanup crews and labor-donation teams will be gathering to make a productive day of doing good deeds for the publicly owned shorelines, watersheds, parklands and trail routes that infuse our region with extraordinary livability and limitless recreation potential.
Tennessee Valley Authority public outreach specialist Ashley Walker says her agency has a long history of embracing Public Lands Day and is ready and willing to engage with all manner of organizations and entities looking to build land-and-water improvement movements.
“We are going out and providing trash bags, water, gloves, things like that to help people go out and be good stewards of our public lands,” said Walker.
TVA manages 293,000 acres of public land across its sprawling service area, in addition to 11,000 miles of river system shoreline. The authority’s lands and watersheds also dovetail with many more tens of thousands of acres owned by state and local governments, the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service. The nearly 2,200-mile long Appalachian Trail, Walker noted, crosses over two TVA dams, Watauga in Northeast Tennessee and Fontana in Western North Carolina.
Numerous state parks throughout the Tennessee Valley are among the recreation and heritage-appreciation destinations capitalizing on the annual cleanup volunteer campaign, and you can get more info by visiting their website activities pages.
Red Clay State Historic Park in Bradley County, Tennessee is using NPLD 2022 to put out a call for either expert or amateur weed-pullers to come out and help uproot invasive plants.
“That seems to be the thing that we need help with most,” said Taylor Young, an interpretive guide at the 263-acre site of the Cherokee tribe’s national government before the 1838 enforcement of the Indian Removal Act and subsequent Trail of Tears.
Young said volunteer efforts at the park are extremely important, and just a handful of motivated folks can make a noticeable impact.
“Even with just five people we got quite a bit done with our last weed wrangle, and you could see a very clear visual difference after we removed a lot of privet that day,” she said. “Even five people or ten people is a good number for us. Of course, we will gladly accept more!”
While National Public Lands Day represents a single day of conservation action — although there are also related events going on all month — the broader goal is to get more and more people committed to making public lands better and better.
“We want people to go out and enjoy public lands in the present, but we are also thinking about the future – we are thinking about making sure that we are leaving behind beautiful lands for people to enjoy,” said TVA’s Walker.
The Tennessee River Valley Stewardship Council, which promotes economic growth while simultaneously working to protect and enhance the geographical character of the Tennessee Valley, coordinates regular trash pick-up expeditions and volunteer junk-removal junkets along TVA lakeshores.
“Volunteering for conservation should be a lifestyle,” said Julie Graham, an organizer for TRVSC. “Stewarding public lands and waterways begins with the agencies that are charged with protecting them, but the many non-profit groups and individual volunteers that build trails, pick up litter and work to conserve these wild places and wide open spaces for future generations are just as instrumental and invaluable.”
Below are some East Tennessee conservation and cleanup events associated with National Public Lands Day that’ll be conducted prior to Sept. 24:
The Tennessee Department of Transportation is launching a program #LoveTNByways in the month of September. East Tennessee is home to five of the 10 National Scenic Byway s in the Volunteer State.
Sept. 13: The East Tennessee Crossing Byway steering committee in partnership with the Cherokee Lake Users Group will gather at the TWRA boat ramp on SR 25 in Bean Station to pick up litter from the parking lots and adjacent public lands. A second clean-up is planned for the Byway in downtown Newport the last week of September.
Sept. 17: The nonprofit Norris Lake Project’s “By Land or By Sea” event will let volunteers choose between assisting with the Loyston Sea island clean-ups or participating in a five-mile family, friendly bike scavenger hunt on the Loyston Point multi-use biking/hiking trails. Boats and kayaks are available for transport to the islands, but riders must bring their own bikes.
Julie Graham, TRV Stewardship Council/ ExploreTRV, 8655850811, [email protected]
SOURCE Tennessee River Valley