Park visitors volunteer for free admission

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In celebration of National Public Lands Day, Georgia’s state parks and historic sites are inviting citizens to volunteer for a variety of projects Saturday, Sept. 26.

The statewide “Your State Parks Day” is sponsored by Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the state’s natural and historical treasures.

While visitors normally pay a $5 parking fee at state parks or a $4-$12 admission fee at state historic sites, Friends will be paying the parking or admission fees for everyone who lends a helping hand to encourage participation in the event.

All across Georgia, outdoor enthusiasts can help with river cleanups and trail maintenance. Many Georgia state parks and historic sites will be creating butterfly gardens as part of the nationwide effort to increase pollinator habitats and restore Monarch populations. These “demonstration gardens” will show how homeowners can build pollinator habitats in their own backyards. The state is partnering with Friends, The Home Depot, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Monarch Watch, Monarchs Across Georgia, North American Butterfly Association and Fernbank Science Center to help stop the massive decline of these migrating butterflies.

“Your State Parks Day is an annual celebration that shows how parks enrich communities while underscoring the importance of local volunteerism,” said Friends Executive Director Andy Fleming. “Each year, Friends works with more than 6,000 volunteers to implement educational and conservation efforts that make Georgia’s state parks and historic sites more enjoyable for visitors, and we encourage all Georgians to take a few hours to give back to these special locations on Your State Parks Day.”

To learn more, visit www.FriendsofGaStateParks.org or call 1-888-948-2092. A list of all events can be found on GaStateParks.org/events.