Celebrate National Public Lands Day with free fees and volunteering

Celebrate National Public Lands Day with free fees and volunteering

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Looking for something to do this weekend?  Why not spend it helping out at Saguaro National Park or at Sabino Canyon or Madera Canyon.

Saturday, Sept. 24 is National Public Lands Day, this day was set aside to celebrate land that is publicly owned and to encourage residents to come out and enjoy a day in their public lands.  Entrance fees are waived during this special day and many locations are hosting volunteer programs.

To learn about volunteer opportunities or to plan a visit to Saguaro National Park click here.

In Madera Canyon, on the Nogales Ranger District, volunteers will partner with Borderlands Restoration, Friends of Madera Canyon, Sky Island Alliance, and the Coronado National Forest to enhance natural conditions near newly-constructed bridges.  The project is designed to prevent erosion from the construction site into Madera Creek, and to re-establish native vegetation on the site.  Participants will install native plants, build simple rock structures to slow the flow of water across the site (providing optimal locations for plants), water plants installed last year and remove non-native plants.

Volunteers are needed and are asked to meet at 8 a.m. at the large parking lot at the top of Madera Canyon. Participants are encouraged to wear sturdy shoes, layered clothing and wide-brimmed hats, and to bring sunscreen, water and snacks.  Gloves, tools and materials will be provided.

In Sabino Canyon, on the Santa Catalina Ranger District, a two-hour family nature walk will leave the canyon at 10 a.m. for Sabino Dam where participants may enjoy the stream or pan for garnets.

Volunteers are needed from 8:00 a.m. to noon to assist in removing non-native grasses in Sabino Canyon. The work will aid in restoration of the area to a more natural setting and reduce competition between native and non-native, invasive plants for limited resources such as moisture and soil nutrients.  Participants should meet at 8 at the Visitor Center ramadas.  Volunteers are encouraged to wear sturdy shoes, layered clothing and wide-brimmed hats, and to bring sunscreen, water and snacks.  Tools, gloves and trash bags will be supplied by the Forest.  Please RSVP to sabinostewards@gmail.com.
Active duty members of the U.S. Military and their dependents are reminded that they may be issued a free America the Beautiful pass any day between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at either visitor center. This pass will permit the pass owner, and up to 3 other adults traveling with them, entrance into all National Parks for 12 months. They must show a current, valid military identification card to qualify for the pass. Additional passes are available to anyone for purchase, including the Interagency Senior, Annual, and Access Passes.  Inquire inside either visitor center for additional information.
Please remember that the fee free day waives entrance fees only.  Additional user fees, such as wilderness camping permit fees, still apply.

In celebration of National Public Lands Day, fees will be waived at most day-use sites on the Forest.  The fee-free program is managed in cooperation with other federal land management agencies under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. Fees are waived generally for day-use areas, such as picnic grounds, developed trailheads and destination visitor centers. Concessionaire-operated sites may be included in the waiver if the permit holder wishes to participate.

Visitors to the Coronado National Forest are encouraged to contact the appropriate ranger district office to determine which recreation sites will have fees waived, and at which sites concessionaires will charge fees.

  • Douglas Ranger District - (520) 364-3468
  • Nogales Ranger District - (520) 281-2296
  • Sierra Vista Ranger District - (520) 378-0311
  • Safford Ranger District - (928) 428-4150
  • Santa Catalina Ranger District - (520) 749-8700

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