Volunteers will work on trails, parks during National Public Lands Day

Hundreds of volunteers in work parties will spread out Saturday across the South Sound and the rest of the state for National Public Lands Day.

Last year, more than 175,000 volunteers took part in work parties and celebrations in almost 2,240 public land locations. Those volunteers helped remove 23,000 pounds of invasive plants, worked on 1,500 miles of trails, removed some 500 tons of trash and contributed an estimated $18 million in time and effort.

The event is now in its 21st year.

At Mount Rainier National Park, this is the single biggest volunteer day of the year, according to Kevin Bacher, the park’s outreach and volunteer coordinator.

Registration opens at 8 a.m. in front of the transportation exhibit next to the National Park Inn at Longmire. The work will start at 9 a.m.

There will be several projects on the Skyline Trail at Paradise, led by park crew leaders and the Washington Trails Association. Another contingent of volunteers will take down platform tents and prepare the Longmire Campground for winter. If enough plants are available, a group will do revegetation work at the old Sunrise campground. Additional projects are still being lined up, Bacher said.

Free camping is available for participants on either Friday and Saturday nights, or both. People interested in camping should send an email to Nancy_Mortensen@ partner.nps.gov with details of your request, including your name, contact information, nights requested, number of people, and number of tents (or size of RV -- no hookups are available and campsites are small).

Volunteers also will receive a fee-free coupon to use at a later date.

Another big event that day will be a celebration of the new Volcano Viewpoint Trail at Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. The 1-mile trail leads from the Ape Cave parking lot to a scenic vista with views of the volcano’s south side.

Volunteers will spend the day working on the trail and another project, then meet at the trailhead at 3 p.m. for a ribbon cutting and refreshmentrs.

To register for this project, go to wta.org.

There also will be a number of projects at local parks, including Priest Point Park in Olympia. Volunteers will help with restoration activities along the beach trail during this project led by Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation. You can register online at olympiawa.gov/experience

itonline or by calling 360-753-8380.