Lake Sonoma

Lake Sonoma

If you’re out and about on Saturday on a hike, you may encounter hordes of people cleaning up trash, pruning bushes, pulling out weeds and picking

up debris. They’re not just there by coincidence – it’s National Public Lands Day, which started 16 years ago and has mushroomed since then. There are four big “national” sites where the clean-ups are expected to draw thousands of people – and two of the four are right here in CA – the Golden Gate National Recreation Area; and the Angeles National Forest (big fires down there recently, maybe you heard…….). The other two are the Lincoln Memorial in DC and the MLK Historic Site in Atlanta.

But those are for the TV cameras. There are plenty of local sites where you can pitch in and help with the clean-up efforts.

In or around Sonoma County, I spotted four – Lake Sonoma (above photo)(View map) , the Napa River Preserve (View map), Lake Berryessa (View map), and Point Reyes National Seashore (View map). I’ve explored all these locations on various hikes and I can attest that 1. they could use a bit of volunteer lovin’ on the trails and weeds, 2. they are well-used areas that I definitely take for granted, and 3. they are literally gems in our backyard. Given how California’s state parks are faring right about now, those could use some attention too, so if you can’t make it to one of these, and are ambling around a state park and feel like doing some cleaning up while you’re there, I suspect no one will object.

Here’s more info overall on the National Parks clean-up day, including lists of what to bring, who to contact, etc., etc., etc.