Organizers describe Public Lands Day, which falls on Saturday, as the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort

Photographer Kathy Lichtendahl knows that in Wyoming, volunteers get out on public lands year-round to clear unused fencing, improve trails and help others experience the beauty of the landscapes. She has photographed many such volunteers this summer, and in a nod to Saturday’s events, shares some of those images with WyoFile.

Volunteer Heather Cole removes a sharp branch from a tree that has fallen across Kitty Creek Trail on Shoshone National Forest as her horse, Playboy, waits patiently. (Kathy Lichtendahl)

From horsewoman Heather Cole, who removed deadfall from trails in the Shoshone National Forest, to Mike Bridgeman, a former banker who volunteers as a kayaking guide in the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, Lichtendahl’s photos are evidence that citizens love public lands enough to volunteer their time and energy any time of the year. 

Volunteers at the Four Bear Fence Tear remove obsolete materials from a fence that no longer serves a purpose on BLM land near Wapiti in May 2021. (Kathy Lichtendahl)

This Public Lands Day, opportunities to celebrate the resource can be found across the state with races, community events, workdays, free park admission and more.  

The U.S. Forest Service Laramie Ranger District is hosting volunteer events at Pilot Hill Recreation area and Curt Gowdy State Park to rehabilitate trails and remove old fencing. 

Near Cody, the Bureau of Land Management invites volunteers to help plant 100 trees at the Hogan and Luce Recreation Site in commemoration of the holiday. 

In central Wyoming, hundreds of runners will gather in South Pass City for Run the Red. Along with a half marathon, 50K and 100K races from the historic mining town through the Red Desert, the event will feature family events, educational tours, food, music and speakers from the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes. 

“This is much more than just a race,” Jonathan Williams, public policy director for the National Outdoor Leadership School, said in a release. “Run the Red is also a gathering for the many communities that use and love the desert — hunters, ranchers, horse packers, mountain bikers and outdoor enthusiasts of all sorts — and a chance to connect with the history of the Northern Red Desert.” 

Runners in the Red Desert. (Courtesy/Citizens for the Red Desert)

Wyoming was the third state to declare its own public land’s day to encourage public enjoyment of national forests, national monuments, wildlife refuges and  all public lands. 

Katie Klingsporn reports on outdoor recreation, public lands, education and general news for WyoFile. She’s been a journalist and editor covering the American West for 20 years. Her freelance work has...

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  1. I have been removing and clearing barbed wire for years on both public and private land and will continue to do that as long as I can.