National Public Lands Day draws visitors to Muir Woods – Scot Scoop News
Free access to the trails at Muir Woods National Monument draws visitors from all over the United States every year on the fourth Saturday in September.
National Public Lands Day, which took place last Saturday, celebrates time spent in U.S. national parks, protecting our environment, and sharing in the beauty of nature by offering free admission. According to National park service, it is the largest one-day volunteer event in the United States
“National Public Lands Day is celebrated by the National Park Service across the country,” said Julian Espinoza, public affairs specialist for Muir Woods.
The closest national park to the people of the Bay Area is Muir Woods National Monument, nestled at the foot of Mount Tamalpais, just 11 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. National Public Lands Day provides an opportunity to explore its breathtaking beauty at no cost.
Muir Woods brings people from all over the country to enjoy its tall redwoods and hike along the meandering rivers that meander through the park. The national park attracts around 1.2 million visitors per year.
Whitney Kiker from Seattle, WA came to Muir Woods with her friends. She loves the scents and atmosphere of Muir Woods.
“The trail smells really cool,” Kiker said. “You can smell dirt, pine, and woody scents.”
Keeping the trails clean is an opportunity for volunteers. On National Public Lands Day, national parks organize nature cleanups to remove waste from the environment. According to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, volunteers help remove non-native plants from trails, restore historic sites, and create programs to educate park visitors about the nature around them.
Volunteering opportunities are also organized throughout the year. Those who want to volunteer can apply to be part of Volunteers-In-Parks, on the national park site.
Unfortunately, this year there were fewer volunteer events than usual.
“Due to local public health councils, our volunteer opportunities this year were very limited and we did not celebrate National Public Lands Day as we have in the past,” Espinoza said.
Nature is not the only thing preserved at Muir Woods. Muir Woods staff also appreciate protecting the park’s past by accurately explaining its history, including its Native American inhabitants, the Miwok.
A whiteboard placed on one of the trails asks hikers, “What word describes the way history is typically taught?” Responses include “bias, by winner, opinions.” Below, the board asks, “What word describes how you want history to be taught?” Responses include “honestly, show all sides, with compassion.”
Muir Woods ranger Carmen Chan said she was inspired to become a ranger to create more diversity in parks and encourage people from different backgrounds to become rangers like her. To bring more people to Muir Woods, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area has a community outreach team.
“They’re bringing recently incarcerated people, newcomers to the Bay Area and people from low-income backgrounds to Muir Woods,” Chan said. “National Public Lands Day benefits Muir Woods by promoting diversity, equity and inclusion.”