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2013 National Public Lands Day Chitina Area Clean-up Success

GLENNALLEN – Over 50 volunteers and partner staff came together to clean the banks of the Copper River Saturday, August 3, 2013 in Chitina, Alaska.  This effort was part of the 20th Anniversary of National Public Lands Day where volunteers across America put forth “Helping Hands for America’s Lands.”

Volunteers removed junked appliances, couches, chairs, broken vehicle parts, and heaping piles of twisted metal, tin and wood resulting in several pick-up and large trailer loads of metal debris and trash.  Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve Youth Conservation Corp students, Chitina Village youth, and several non-profit partner volunteers cleaned 240 feet of the river front and adjacent roadway at the Copper River Bridge and an additional 2,685 feet of roadway in Chitina.  Signs were also posted asking visitors, dip netters, and fish wheel operators to “pack out trash” in hopes of encouraging everyone to be stewards of this great Alaskan landscape.    

Volunteers were treated to a lunch funded by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, the Public Lands Foundation, and Copper Country Alliance which featured local raised beef from Van Wyhe Farms and local produce from Flint Family Farms and the Copper River Red Spud Company.  The lunch was catered by Gilpatrick’s Hotel Chitina. 

“The event was a HUGE success, thanks to all of the wonderful partners and volunteers in the Copper River Basin!” exclaimed Marnie Graham, event coordinator and BLM Public Affairs Specialist.  “Partners took a landscape approach to the area.  Everyone came together to give a gift of stewardship to this great watershed.”  Partners included the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Ahtna Incorporated, Chitina Corporation, Chitina Village, State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources Lands and Forestry Divisions and Department of Fish and Game, Copper Basin Sanitation, Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment, Copper Country Alliance, Copper River Watershed Project, and Gilpatrick’s Hotel Chitina.

National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. For the rest of the nation, 2013’s 20th Anniversary of National Public Lands Day will be held on Saturday, Sept. 28.  Events in Alaska are often held early to avoid the possibility of snow.  NPLD began in 1994 with three sites and 700 volunteers. It proved to be a huge success and became a yearly tradition. In 2012, about 175,000 volunteers worked at 2,206 sites in every state, the District of Columbia and in many U.S. territories. 2012 was the biggest NPLD in the history of the event.  National sponsors of the event this year are Toyota, REI, and Northrup Grumman.

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