Entrance fees at New Melones Reservoir will be waived for all visitors on Sept. 28 in celebration of National Public Lands Day, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced Thursday.
The bureau is also inviting volunteers to help beautify the lake for the 20th anniversary of Public Lands Day and will receive a “free-fee day” voucher good for admission to any federally managed public land.
“We generally attract a lot of people,” Bureau of Reclamation spokesman Pete Lucero said of previous National Public Lands Day events at New Melones.
In 2012, about 175,000 volunteers worked across 2,206 sites, performing a variety of services, including building and maintaining trails, removing invasive plant species and planting trees, shrubs and native vegetation.
Volunteers at New Melones Recreation Area will help with invasive plant removal and planting native vegetation from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. They may also visit the reservoir’s new greenhouse, where some of the native plants they will be planting were grown.
Lucero described the work the volunteers provide each year as “critical.”
“It provides extra labor and gives the public a sense of ownership of the land,” he said. “They can see a project they’ve done that can last into future years, so there’s some much needed value in that.”
On-site registration and check-in will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the New Melones Visitor Center, 6850 Studhorse Flat Road, Sonora, CA 95370.
Volunteers should dress for summer heat, bring lunch, water and work gloves, and wear sturdy shoes, according to a Bureau of Reclamation news release.