The Fort Worth District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is commemorating the eighth annual National Public Lands Day on Saturday, Sept. 29, at five of its lakes in Texas. Volunteers at each lake will join 50,000 volunteers across America in activities centered around the enhancement of outdoor recreation facilities and the stewardship of public lands. More than $8 million of needed improvements is expected to be accomplished across the nation.
National Public Lands Day, sponsored by the National Environmental Education and Training Foundation, Inc., will be conducted at an estimated 350 sites this year with "Keeping the Promise" as its theme. Americans will join together to make improvements to the nation's largest resource and to honor the work and sacrifice of the Civil Conservation Corps. The CCC built over 800 national and state parks, planted almost 4 billion trees, built parks, roads and hiking trails and laid interstate telephone lines that became the basis for the Internet.
National Public Lands Day began in 1994 with just three sites and 700 volunteers. Today, the event has evolved to a partnership of federal, state and local land management agencies. Last year, nearly 45,000 volunteers contributed $6.5 million worth of work at 277 locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
The Corps of Engineers has participated in the event since 1996 and has attracted more volunteers nationwide than any other agency. The Corps manages nearly 12 million acres of public land, four million of which is water. Forty-one Corps projects hosted activities in 2000 and 39 Corps sites will draw volunteers this year.