WASHINGTON - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will waive day-use fees at more than 2,400 Corps-operated recreation areas nationwide Saturday (including those on Lake Lanier) in recognition of National Public Lands Day.
During National Public Lands Day, the Army Corps of Engineers will waive fees normally charged at boat launch ramps and swimming beaches. The Corps does not charge entrance fees to its parks.
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 USACE lands are encouraged but not required to comply with this waiver of day-use fees in the areas they manage.
In addition, volunteers who participate in one of USACE's National Public Lands Day activities will be issued a fee-free coupon if the volunteer site is participating in the coupon program.
Volunteers should check with the local USACE event manager for more information. The fee-free coupon is valid for one year from date of issue and may be used for one day of entrance or day-use fees at any participating federal agency park, forest or recreation area that charges either of these types of fees.
Thousands of local volunteers are expected to support the more than 110 USACE sites participating in this year's 19th annual National Public Lands Day, the largest annual volunteer hands-on restoration activity of its kind.
Volunteers at USACE sites will take part in tree planting, erosion control, bank stabilization, building trails, restoring recreation areas, trash pickup, removal of invasive species and non-native plants, improving wildlife habitats, harvesting prairie plant seeds and rehabilitating playgrounds.
In 2011, more than 12,000 volunteers worked approximately 50,000 hours to remove more than 1,500 tires, clear litter and debris from 1,475 miles of shoreline, build 100 miles of trails, and plant some 1,000 trees and shrubs at USACE-operated sites.
Volunteering in National Public Lands Day is one way to answer President Barack Obama's call to service and play a role in supporting America's Great Outdoors Initiative, an effort to promote the conservation of outdoor spaces and reconnect Americans to the outdoors.
USACE has been involved with National Public Lands Day since its inception in 1994 and has consistently been one of the event's largest providers of sites and volunteers.
As the nation's leading federal provider of outdoor and water-based recreation, USACE manages 422 lake and river projects in 43 states. With 90 percent of these projects located within 50 miles of metropolitan areas, USACE sites provide a wide range of safe, affordable outdoor recreation opportunities close to home.
The annual Shore Sweep on Lake Lanier will also take place Saturday. (See earlier story.)