SOUTH EL MONTE, California --
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District is partnering with LA County and the Whittier Narrows Nature Center Associates to host a cleanup event in honor of National Public Lands Day.
The event is scheduled from 8 a.m. to noon Sept. 28 at the Whittier Narrows Nature Center, 1000 N. Durfee Ave., South El Monte. Registration is at 7 a.m. The public is invited to participate. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.
Volunteers will be working on habitat improvements and performing debris cleanup in the San Gabriel riverbed at Whittier Narrows.
“The Corps’ Park Ranger program is fairly new to the Los Angeles area,” said Ranger Nick Figueroa with the Corps’ LA District. “We hope this event will allow us to introduce ourselves to the community and let them know we are here to serve. We value the community’s input and their dedication to using recreational lands.”
Those planning to volunteer should be 18 years or older or be accompanied by an adult. It is recommended volunteers wear long pants and hiking boots. Closed-toed shoes are required. Parking will be at 555 N. Durfee Ave., with shuttles taking volunteers to the nature center.
“The Corps appreciates the invaluable contributions of all of our partners and the donations of our local businesses that will be providing breakfast and lunch for our volunteers,” Figueroa said. “We value these partnerships that help ensure the event’s success.”
National Public Lands Day is the largest annual volunteer hands-on restoration activity of its kind. During the event, thousands of volunteers across the nation come out to show their support at more than 70 Corps’ projects.
Volunteers complete activities, including tree planting, erosion control, bank stabilization, building trails, restoring recreation areas, trash pickup, removing invasive species and non-native plants, improving wildlife habitats, harvesting prairie plant seeds and rehabilitating playgrounds.
Last year, more than 7,500 volunteers served 34,000 hours on Corps-managed lands, removing 51,000 pounds of trash, cleaning 1,100 miles of roadways and shoreline, improving 320 acres of habitat and engaging 218 partner organizations.
“We want community members to develop a sense of ownership of the lands, so they continue to keep the lands pristine far after this event,” Figueroa said. “By hosting it at the Whittier Narrows Nature Center, they can see exactly what animals they are protecting and to learn about the educational services available to them.”
Additionally, on Sept. 28, the Corps will waive day use fees normally charged at boat launch ramps and swimming beaches at its recreation areas nationwide in recognition of National Public Lands Day.
The waiver does not apply to camping and camping-related services or fees for specialized facilities, such as group picnic shelters. Other agencies and partners that manage recreation areas located on Corps’ lands are encouraged, but not required, to comply with this waiver of day use fees in the areas they manage.
ABOUT NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY
National Public Lands Day is the largest single-day volunteer event for America’s public lands. Established in 1994, it occurs annually on the fourth Saturday in September. Its purpose is to celebrate the connection between people and green space in their community, inspire environmental stewardship and encourage use of open space for education, recreation and general health, according to the National Parks Service website.
It is organized annually by the National Environmental Education Foundation in cooperation with the departments of Interior, Army and Agriculture. Participating agencies include the Corps, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Forest Service.
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