Volunteers participate in National Public Lands Day events

Published Nov. 12, 2020

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Volunteers participated at in-person and virtual events at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes in the Albuquerque District in observance of National Public Lands Day, the last weekend in September. 


“It was not the normal celebration people are used to, but it was good to get out and do something to show our appreciation of our public lands,” said Austin Kuhlman, lead park ranger at Abiquiu Lake.


National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. It began in 1994 with three sites and 700 volunteers and became a yearly tradition.


Last year more than 10,200 volunteers served 37,000 hours on USACE-managed lands, removing 112,000 pounds of trash, cleaning 840 miles of roadways and shoreline, planting 3,000 trees and shrubs, improving 177 acres of habitat, and engaging 296 partner organizations.




Due to COVID-19, the event was dramatically scaled back from previous years. On Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, 24 volunteers and USACE staff gathered at Abiquiu Lake to celebrate NPLD. This year’s event consisted of a simple, self-led litter clean up.


“We had a good event at Abiquiu. During these last few months an incredible number of people have been taking advantage of our park and other natural open spaces, and it was good to see people coming together, albeit socially distant, to leave the park a little better than they found it,” said Kuhlman.



Conchas Lake hosted a virtual event this year sharing the staff’s fondest memories from previous NPLD events and letting the public know that they can still go out and participate on their own, keeping in mind to wear a mask and social distance. 




Two park rangers collected a truck load of trash from the south shore recreation area during the National Public Lands Day event here, Sunday, Sept. 27.