September 21, 2020 /
Jona Elwell

Celebrating the Founding of the Third Oldest National Park

Join the National Park Service and several park partners for virtual programming and opportunities to get out into beloved Rock Creek Park and #recreateresponsibly while celebrating National Public Lands Day and 130 years of Rock Creek Park this Saturday, September 26! There will be a weekend full of programming and activities for the whole family! For links and more info, follow the event online.

 When they say activities for the whole family, they mean it! Family-friendly and Spanish-language programming options will be available. Activities will include scavenger hunts, park cleanups, historic and nature tours, and more. Learn about and help restore and protect our treasured national park!

So, what even is National Public Lands Day (NPLD)? National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands. Established in 1994 by the National Environmental Education Foundation, it’s held annually on the fourth Saturday in September to bring out thousands of volunteers to help restore and improve public lands around the country. 

In DC, which has quite a bit of federally owned and maintained public land, NPLD conveniently coincides with the birthday of a particularly cherished urban park: Rock Creek Park! Rock Creek Park Day, as it’s aptly named, is celebrated on September 27 aka the anniversary of the legislation that established the National Park Service park in 1890. For 130 years this park has been providing entertainment, recreation, education, and beauty to our fair city. 

As we all know far too well this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended many aspects of daily life, and our public lands are no exception. It’s also safe to say that this year has opened numerous eyes to the importance of preserving, maintaining, and appreciating the public lands that give us so much – especially in cities. This Saturday, in honor of National Public Lands Day and Rock Creek Park Day, take some time to soak up the beautiful fall weather and spend some time learning about, giving back to, cleaning up, and celebrating our urban public lands.

It takes a village and this celebration is made possible through partnerships with the Rock Creek Conservancy, Friends of Peirce Mill, Corazón Latino, Washington Parks & People, Civil War Defenses of Washington, Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy, and other park partners.