By REBECCA HAZEN
Community members are invited to come out to Cloudland Canyon State Park on Saturday, Sept. 24, for Your State Parks Day.
Your State Parks Day is also known as National Public Lands Day, which occurs on the fourth Saturday of every September. The statewide focus for this year’s Your State Parks Day is “Blaze A Trail.”
According to the National Park Service’s website, nps.gov, “National Public Lands Day is traditionally the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort. It celebrates the connection between people and green space in their community, inspires environmental stewardship, and encourages use of open space for education, recreation, and health benefits.”
“The park is a hidden gem in their backyard, and they don’t always come and explore it. If they come out for Your State Parks Day, all they have to do is hike one of the trails, and upload the information to the All Trails app. They can get service hours, spend the day outside, and contribute to their community,” Juanita Wade, a member of the Friends of Cloudland Canyon State Park organization, said.
Lunch will be provided to all registered volunteers, so it is important to pre-register, People can register the day of, but food cannot be guaranteed for everyone. All volunteers interested in attending should pre-register by visiting the Friends of Cloudland Canyon State Park Facebook page, where they will find a link to an online form. Registered volunteers do not need to pay the $5 parking fee to enter the park.
Volunteering options for the day include mulching around the Visitor’s Center and the Interpretive Center, trail maintenance on a Cloudland Connector Trail section including clearing trail drains and doing berm removal, and mapping multiple trails using the All Trails app on a phone.
“There are always so many out of state and out of area license plates at the park. I’d love to see everyone from Dade County here for Your State Parks Day, enjoying this beautiful park,” Wade said.
Wade encourages everyone in Dade County to come out to Cloudland Canyon State Park, and see what the park has to offer, much of it for free.
“We will have a lot of events after COVID-19, finally. We will be having hayrides in October, and we will bring back our Easter egg hunt. We’re also working on events for the campers to enjoy while they are there in the park,” Wade said.
In addition, the Interpretive Center is hosting weekly events, and people can contact the office to see what is on the schedule.
The Friends of Cloudland Canyon hold monthly member meetings on the fourth Thursday of the month at the Group Shelter. The meetings feature networking and appetizers from 5:30 to 6 p.m., and then a guest speaker gives a presentation about a nature focused topic from 6 to 7 p.m. In addition, trail maintenance workdays are every second Saturday of the month.
For more information visit either the Friends of Cloudland Canyon or Cloudland Canyon State Park Facebook pages or gastateparks.org.