Making Great Places Better: Celebrating National Volunteer Week

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Getting involved provides the opportunity to see our national treasures in a new light, and there are plenty of ways that you can help preserve and support our public lands and waters.

On you can discover volunteer opportunities that make an impact in the same places you love to recreate, supporting causes you care about. Whether constructing the next best trail, supporting a campground, or leading a tour, doing good on public lands comes in many forms.

Opportunity is calling on your public lands

National Volunteer Week is celebrated annually during the third week in April, and recognizes the incredible contributions of volunteers – including volunteers who manage your favorite campsites and trails, and who help keep your favorite wild spaces wild! National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 and has grown exponentially each year, with thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week.

During this week-long event, organizations across the country honor and thank their volunteers for the selfless work they do. For the public lands that supports, like national parks and national forests, National Volunteer Week is especially important because volunteers play a critical role in preserving and protecting these treasured landscapes. Across federal land management agencies, over 450,000 volunteers contribute more than 10 million hours of volunteer service in a typical year, for an annual value of $285 million!

A man riding a horse leads a horse pack trail crew through the mountains.

Sawtooth National Forest (Glenn Florence, Share the Experience)

Volunteering can provide you with a sense of purpose. Take it from a couple of people who helped out on their public lands and shared their experiences.

Volunteering allows me to enjoy my favorite outdoor activities while giving back to the community. As a retiree, answering questions and suggesting park activities suited to visitor abilities and interests has allowed me to remain engaged with people from all walks of life. I've made countless friendships and fond memories as a volunteer.” - Dave Cahan, Park Watch Volunteer, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

"I serve in a remote area... Cataloochee Valley Campground in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I oversee the campground, providing guidance and helpful information to campers. And I inform visitors of regulations around wildlife viewing. I love my service position because I enjoy meeting people who travel to experience the Smokies from places all around the world. I appreciate the opportunity to make their experience here more meaningful, memorable and positive!" - Janet Musselwhite, Cataloochee Campground Host Volunteer, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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