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Reasons to celebrate Saturday

A Continental Divide Trail marked in the Carson National Forest in northern New Mexico. Karl Moffatt / For the Journal

Volunteers will find plenty to do and places to go to help celebrate Public Lands Day in New Mexico on Saturday.

The Continental Divide Trail Coalition is hosting a free cookout at Hopewell Lake in northern New Mexico for volunteers and the public as it celebrates completion of 100 miles of trail through the Carson National Forest.

“This was a huge effort over the last decade involving so many people,” says Amanda Wheelock of the Coalition, based in Golden, Colorado. “Now its time to celebrate.” Volunteers will help do some low-impact maintenance on the trail near the lake before settling down to indulge in hot dogs, cake and revelry. The event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28. Camping, fishing and hiking are available. Hopewell Lake is off U.S. 64 between Tierra Amarilla and Tres Piedras in the Carson National Forest.

The 3,100-mile trail passes through New Mexico as it follows the Continental Divide between the Mexican and Canadian borders.

Volunteers can visit several other lakes around the region to help out on projects with the Army Corps of Engineers. Entrance fees also are being waived for the day at all of their sites.

At Cochiti Lake, they’ll be planting cottonwood and willow trees along the shoreline near the swim beach and boat ramp to provide more shade and habitat for wildlife.

Volunteers will be helping clean up the shoreline, campgrounds and roadways at Conchas and Santa Rosa lakes, and enjoying a free lunch for their effort. At Abiquiu Lake, they’ll be putting up a new playground, cleaning up the shoreline and creating pollinator gardens. A free night’s camping is being offered to volunteers involved in that project. Visit the Corps’ Albuquerque District Office website for more details.

The Bureau of Land Management and the state’s national forests are all hosting various events at different locations, dates and times. Consult their websites to learn more and participate.

And Public Lands Day means the national parks and monuments in the state, including Bandelier, Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands and Fort Union are offering free admission. See their websites for more information.

Although New Mexico’s state parks don’t have any special events scheduled for National Public Lands Day, a visit to any one of the state’s more than 30 parks would still be a great way to celebrate the occasion. See the website to find a park.

New Mexico has an abundance of public land, with over 40% of the state owned and enjoyed by the people.

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