FARMINGTON—It's a win-win situation for national parks and for national park enthusiasts Saturday.

In what is expected to be the largest celebration in its 19 years of existence, National Public Lands Day is hoped to pull in more than 170,000 volunteers and even more park visitors.

Across the United States volunteers will be helping to improve or maintain conditions at more than 2,100 sites. Simultaneously, volunteers and anyone else interested will be able to take advantage of free admission for all public lands in the nation.

"We encourage everyone, particularly families and service groups, to join their neighbors on NPLD to make their communities the best they can be," said JL Armstrong, board member of the National Environmental Education Foundation, which coordinates NPLD.

A slew of opportunities are in-state, if not in the Four Corners. A few of the parks that locals might venture to visit include: Aztec Ruins National Monument, Chaco Culture National Historic Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Hovenweep National Monument, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, El Morro National Monument, El Malpais National Monument and Grand Canyon National Park.

"We all get busier this weekend," said Lauren Blacik, park ranger at Aztec Ruins National Monument.

The local monument this week had about 20 special education students fix it up before the boost in visitors this weekend.

Park rangers plan to host a fence-building project with Aztec High School students this weekend from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.


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Saturday at the monument.

Last week, volunteers helped to post signs prohibiting restricted activities in the PiƱon Mesa Recreation Area, which is on Bureau of Land Management property.

"Without volunteers, national parks could not function the same way," said Blacik.

For more information on visiting a national park or to volunteer, visit www.publiclandsday.org.

Want to volunteer during National Public Lands Day in New Mexico? Visit some of these spots to lend a helping hand:

Local:

Aztec Ruins National Monument: Build a buck and rail fence with students from Aztec High School.

Saturday, September 29, 2012 - 8:00am - 2:00pm

Contact Lauren Blacik at lauren_blacik@nps.gov or at 505-334-6174 ext. 228.

Around the state:

Abiquiu Lake Project: Shoreline Clean-up, trail maintenance, and landscape native plants. (Abiquiu)

Albuquerque Service Center-R3: Remove trash, inspect trails and replace signs. Project is full. (Albuquerque)

Cochiti Lake: Eco upgrade: removing invasives, planting, and restoring 1000 sq. ft. of unrecovered campground space. (Pena Blanca)

Cochiti Lake Tetilla Peak: Clean up the shoreline. (Pena Blanca)

Conchas Dam: Clean up the shoreline. (Conchas Dam)

Diablo Canyon Trailhead: Install signs, rebuild barbed wire fence, install vehicle barriers and fire rings, plant native seeds and conduct trail maintenance. (Taos)

Dona Ana Mountains Recreation Area: Clean up trails, post trail signs, post OHV advisory signs, close illegal ATV exploratory routes and ATV play areas and ATV area maintenance. (Las Cruces)

El Malpais National Conservation Area: Hike to repair cairns on the Continental Divide trail. Meet at the information center. Please wear sturdy shoes, gloves, a hat, sunscreen, etc.

(Grants)

Foothills Open Space: Trash cleanup. Breakfast and snacks will be provided to volunteers. (Albuquerque)

Fort Stanton Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area: Plant trees and shrubs on the riparian area of the Rio Bonito River and the Fort Stanton - Snowy River National Conservation Area camp host site. (Roswell)

Galisteo Basin Preserve: Finish the construction of the Blue Moon Loop Trail.For more information, pease visit the Preserve website at www.galisteobasinpreserve.com. (Santa Fe)

Lordsburg Continental Divide Trail: Clean up litter from the trail. (Lordsburg)

Milagro Colonia: Clean up illegal dump sites. (Las Cruces)

Prehistoric Trackways National Monument: Clean up trash, update and install signage. (Las Cruces)

Railyard Park: Participate in the Harvest for Health festival.Volunteers will prepare the festival, define the fitness trail and harvest the community garden. (Santa Fe)

Tunnel Canyon Trailhead - Sandia Ranger District: Clear brush, dig sidehill trail and build retaining walls for a new multiuse trail.Volunteers should come prepared to work outside. (Tijeras)

For more information about National Public Lands Day, go to www.publiclandsday.org.