Public land: Without it, odds are good that a whole lot of people would be looking a little less forward to this coming weekend. Why? Because they’d have nowhere to hunt, fish, bike or ride.

With fall upon us and hunting seasons building momentum across the nation, water cooler conversations across the country are gaining intensity as the weekend draws near.

Chatter about the buck that was spotted. The bull that gave them the slip. The run full of spawning salmon.The hike in. The hike out. The anticipation, the excitement, the sense of purpose.

For hundreds of thousands of hunters and anglers, publicly-accessible land makes it all possible. On Saturday, it’s time to celebrate those lands.

National Public Lands Day is Saturday, September 27. The day will feature hundreds of volunteer-led projects from coast to coast. And Outdoor Life’s Open Country program is proud to play a small role in the celebration.

National Public Lands Day and the National Environmental Education Foundation, the parent organization of NPLD, is a 2014 Open Country grant recipient.

In addition to a slew of projects that you can participate in, many fee-based public access areas are also open to free entry on National Public Lands Day.

“Thousands of volunteers will visit their favorite parks, beaches, wildlife preserves or forests and chip in to help improve the lands and facilities that all Americans own, and that we use for recreation, education, exercise and just plain enjoyment,“ said Diane Wood, President of NEEF. “One third of America’s land is in public hands and NPLD offers everyone an opportunity to explore and give back.”

National Public Lands Day celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. That first event in 1994 featured 700 volunteers at three sites.

Last year, more than 175,000 visitors and volunteers participated at more than 2,000 locations across the country.

This year’s NPLD figures to be even bigger with some 2,200 sites scheduled to hold NPLD projects or events. Here are a few examples:

In Kentucky and Tennessee, volunteers will gather at the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area to clear trails.

In Iowa, volunteers will gather at Coralville Lake to conduct all manner of projects ranging from timber stand improvement to benefit wildlife habitat to trail maintenance to invasive species removal.

In Nevada, the popular ATV-riding trails in the Logandale system will receive volunteer efforts.
And the list goes on. And on.

If you’d like to participate in a project, check out this link and search for events in your area.