National Public Lands Day activities planned at Mark Twain National Forest, Smokey will even make an appearance at Celebration of Nations

Lori Amos
The Rolla Daily News
Backcountry Horseman preparing to clean do a trail maintenance ride on National Public Lands Day in 2018.

Several National Public Lands Day activities are happening in the area and around Mark Twain National Forest — Smokey will even make an appearance at Missouri S&T’s Celebration of Nations Parade Saturday. 

Public Affairs Officer for Mark Twain National Forest Cody Norris said people could join area organizations heading out to the national forest on Saturday to connect with nature. 

Backcountry Horseman of Missouri Ride and Trail Repair Day

Members of the non-profit Backcountry Horseman of Missouri will have a ride and repair day at Mark Twain National Forest on Saturday as part of their annual National Public Lands Day routine — to clean up and fix trails. 

The Brownfield Chapter is holding the ride at Cole Creek Trail from 9 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. and invites anyone interested in trails or becoming a chapter member. 

Volunteers will work with the U.S. Forest Service to maintain the trail system by cleaning up and clipping the multi-use trails used for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding. 

The chapter said community members can come early or stay later to ride their horse and enjoy the trails and views the 20 miles of designated trails, including 4.5 miles of lightly traveled gravel road from the Cole Creek camp to the Gasconade River has to offer.

Ozark Trail Association Maintenance Mega Event

Norris said the Ozark Trail Association will give back by doing maintenance and construction projects on the Courtois section of Mark Twain National Forest to work on tread and trail clearing on the Berryman eastern leg from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The association will have a feast for volunteers on Saturday night as members gather around the traditional bonfire. 

Community members interested in volunteering with the association should wear sturdy work boots, long pants, prepare for hot weather, bring lunch and at least two liters of water. 

They will provide gloves, safety glasses, helmets and tools. Bass River Resort, in Steelville, at 204 Butts Road, offers camping, camper pads, electrical hookups, cabins and more. 

Individuals interested in camping will need to make a camper or cabin reservation with Bass River Resort.

For more information, email admin@ozarktrail.com.

Poplar Bluff Trails Coalition Cleanup Events

Another organization Norris highlighted is the Poplar Bluff Trails Coalition, hosting a cleanup event on the Ozark Trail from 8 a.m. to noon. 

Volunteers will meet at the Wrangler TH on Pinecone Road for tree logging, mowing, pruning the back trail corridor, cleaning up trash and more. 

Individuals should bring water, gloves, eye protection and wear long pants. 

For more information, email 573-996-2153. 

There will also be virtual volunteer events to celebrate National Public Lands Day, established in 1994 and held annually on the fourth Saturday in September. 

The single-day volunteer event for public lands celebrates the connection between people and their public lands, inspires environmental stewardship, and encourages the use of open space for education, recreation and health benefits. 

This year’s theme, “More Ways to Connect to Nature,” highlights the many ways people can build healthy relationships to public lands, including volunteerism, nature walks, picnics, meditative experiences, sitting in a park, exercise, art, outdoor music, dance or fishing. 

To see a calendar of events and other resources on National Public Land Day, visit the National Environmental Education Foundation at https://www.neefusa.org/npld.