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Contact: Sue Walter, 520-387-6849 x7301
Ajo, Arizona - National Public Lands Day is celebrated each year on the last Saturday in September. It is a coordinated effort and the nation's largest single-day volunteer event. The event brings together thousands of volunteers to help restore America's public lands which are available for everyone's enjoyment, recreation and education. The National Park Service along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the USDA Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other federal and state, county and city public lands welcome volunteers to help with projects that would otherwise not get done.
Organ Pipe Cactus is launching a new annual volunteer program to celebrate National Public Lands Day. The new Desert Stewards program allows people to adopt an area of the park to clean-up, similar to the Adopt a Highway program. "Moving forward one of our ongoing needs is trash removal," stated Superintendent Brent Range. "Unfortunately over the years some areas of the park have seen use that has left debris on the landscape. With over 500 square miles to cover it is a challenge for our staff to get to all the areas and we need the public's help."
The Desert Stewards program plots are one mile squares; some plots are easy to reach with level ground while others will take effort and have challenges. They all provide opportunities for adventure and a rewarding
experience of volunteering for your national park. The plots can be adopted by a single person or large organized groups. Desert Stewards can request overnight camping sites for multi-day clean-ups or if they live a distance away. Entrance Fees on the days of the clean-up are waived and stewards are encouraged to include
other fun activities in addition to the clean-up.
There are 52 plots available for adoption. The park will review each volunteers request and try best to match the plots with the ability and interest of the volunteers. Mandatory safety training will be required before work can be started. The park will provide the safety training and garbage bags. Volunteers do not have to do the clean-up on Public Lands Day and can sign-up anytime. For more detailed information contact Sue Walter at 520-387-6849 x7301 or e-mail us.