While I think it’s important to cherish the outdoors every moment we can, today is kind of special. The fourth Saturday in September happens to be both National Public Lands Day and National Hunting and Fishing Day.
What exactly does that mean and why should you care? I answer that below. But if you’re in a time crunch, here’s the take-home message: try to get outdoors today!
National Public Lands Day
I’ve written about it before, but we are really lucky to have the public lands that we do in America. Some states have way more than you could even explore in a given year. So why not get out and enjoy it…today.
An important piece of National Public Lands Day (#NPLD on social media) is volunteering and service. Many agencies and organizations celebrate this day by throwing events where you can volunteer on our public lands. Some common tasks might be planting trees, collecting seeds, cleaning up trash, or removing invasive species. Having participated in many of these events before, there’s really no better way to enjoy our public lands than by volunteering and making a lasting and positive impact on them. You can find a local event here.
But if that’s not in the cards and you just want to enjoy a hike around a new park, that’s okay too. One of the perks for you is that today is a fee-free day. Granted, many public lands don’t require you to pay any kind of fee. But take advantage of today and go visit a national park, on the house.
National Hunting and Fishing Day
National Hunting and Fishing Day (#NHFday) was started in 1972 primarily to recognize hunters and anglers for their leadership in wildlife conservation. It might seem counter-intuitive, but hunters and hunting organizations are some of the biggest supporters of wildlife conservation…period.
Through avenues like the Pittman-Robertson Act or the Dingell-Johnson Act, hunters, anglers, and the outdoors industry provide massive amounts of money (as in hundreds of millions of dollars) towards wildlife research and habitat improvements. License sales and stamps also fund specific wildlife or fishery-related management activities. Basically, if you hunt or fish at all, you are supporting the conservation of wild animals and preservation of wild places.
Similar to the National Public Lands Day above, many different organizations and agencies host hunting- and fishing-related events for the public across the country on this day. Try searching for “National Hunting and Fishing Day events [YOUR STATE]” to find one near you. But to make a bigger impact, is there anyone you can introduce to hunting or fishing this season? Recruiting more hunters and anglers is necessary to continued conservation efforts, and you can play an important role.
Get Outdoors Today
Please take the time to get outdoors today. Go enjoy our public lands by participating in a volunteer event or simply hiking around with your family. Take the pledge this season to introduce a new hunter or angler to the amazing experience that is hunting, fishing, and enjoying the outdoors.