In celebration of National Public Lands Day on Saturday, the Los Padres National Forest has announced this Saturday as a “Fee Free Day,” inviting visitors to enjoy the park’s facilities free of charge.
Typically a $5 Adventure Pass is required to visit, but the fee is being waived for hikers, visitors and volunteers. It applies to all areas of the park except for the Lower Santa Ynez Recreation Area and is separate from other fees such as reservation and group site fees.
According to Andrew Madsen, public affairs officer for the Los Padres National Forest, the fee free day is a good opportunity to explore the park.
“It’s an opportunity to encourage people to get outdoors,” Madsen said. “It’s right in your backyard. … You can get out and be amazed.”
The Los Padres National Forest stretches from Ojai in the south to Monterey in the north. The open space includes some of the largest areas of wilderness in California.
“We don’t allow any motorized vehicles back there,” Madsen said. “It’s kind of the way California has looked for the last eight or 10,000 years.”
National Public Lands Day was started 17 years ago and since then has grown into the largest single-day outdoor volunteer event.
Dan Seligson, spokesman for National Public Lands Day, said the celebration garners volunteers and teaches the public about the importance of maintaining open spaces.
“It is part of our effort for environmental education because one third of our country is public land,” Seligson said. “Public lands are everything from the little green space around the corner, to an elementary school, to a beach to Yosemite. The day is intended to focus attention on shared stewardship of these lands.”
Furthermore, Goleta Valley Beautiful is running a volunteer event at Dos Pueblos High School on Saturday in honor of National Public Lands Day.
According to Goleta Valley Beautiful Executive Director Ken Knight, volunteers plan to plant 25 trees.
“Our primary mission is to care for, plant and enhance trees in the Goleta Valley area,” Knight said. “We are going to be doing everything from weed pulling to pulling gum off the tables, as well as tree planting.”