national volunteer day

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A big thank you to the many volunteers who built fences, planted trees, cleaned up trash and more during the 23rd annual National Public Lands Day yesterday! Now get outdoors and explore #yourlands, like the beautiful Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument near Las Cruces, New Mexico. The monument offers stunning views, great hikes and picnic areas for a day trip with family and friends.   

New photos by Sherman Hogue, BLM New Mexico.

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King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands participated in NLDoet, a national volunteer day event, by working on a community service project in the city of Alphen aan den Rijn on March 12, 2016. 

NLDoet is supported by Oranje Fonds (Orange Fund), the King and Queen’s wedding foundation. The King and Queen’s duties included cleaning playground equipment and assisting with the distribution of sand for a new sand box.

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The #mypubliclandsroadtrip Takes a Quick Detour to Meadowood, Virginia, for National Trails Day

The Meadowood Special Recreation Management Area in Lorton, Virginia, is the site of the South Branch Loop Trail, a 4.7 mile hiking and biking trail, one of only a few natural surface trails open to mountain bikes on public land in the greater Washington, D.C. area. The trail is the result of successful partnerships between the BLM Eastern States and local organizations, including Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts, the International Mountain Biking Association, and the American Hiking Society.

The BLM and partners built an additional 2.5 miles of mountain-bike specific trails at Meadowood. Features on this trail include banked turns, a ladder bridge, rollers, drops, and rock gardens. It’s the wooden features that make the trails unique to the local area.  

The BLM project lead during the construction commented on the real value of the trails to the local community, saying, “Even more significant than the construction of the bike trails is the community of enthusiastic volunteers that has grown around this project at Meadowood. Volunteers take great pride in the trails they are helping to build and will have lasting satisfaction in the knowledge that, ‘I helped build that.’ We’ve seen at Meadowood that communities build great trails, and great trails build communities.”

Happy National Best Friend’s Day! 

“Meet the boy who changed how I viewed the world. When I first got to my village, I was uncertain of what to do or where to go. This small boy, Kofi, took my hand, looked up at me, and led me to my house. He spoke no English, and I spoke little Ewe (the local language), but that did not matter. From that first day on, we were best friends. This is picture was taken while i was waiting for local transport to arrive (tro tro). He came and sat with me, to keep me company and to continue our language lessons. When I was away from my village, he was one of the main reasons I wanted to get back as quickly as possible. When things went wrong, and I needed a pick me up, he was there for me…just an easy smile and quick laugh.”

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The #mypubliclandsroadtrip Heads to the Sunny Alabama Shores for National Trails Day!

Today, we’re heading over to Baldwin County, Alabama, where the BLM manages seven small beach front tracts. All of these tracts are designated critical habitat for Alabama beach mouse and contain primary dunes, the preferred habitat for this species. The tracts also provide nesting habitat for loggerhead sea turtles.

In fact, these beaches are one of the few areas in the U.S. that federally-threatened Loggerhead Sea Turtles use for nesting. Actually locating a sea turtle nesting spot - momma turtles like to hide and lay eggs at night - and watching eggs hatch are rare events. Volunteers regularly patrol the beaches and watch for signs of turtle nesting.

BLM Southeastern States employees and volunteers also maintain some of the areas and trails around the beach tracts.  As a joint project, employees and volunteers defined the existing pedestrian pathway through the dunes with a unobtrusive fence. The marked path is intended to guide visitors to the beach and away from the unique habitat for wildlife.

Thanks to the volunteers whose work is critical to the conservation and recreation activities along the BLM-managed shoreline.