With Independence Day only a week away, start planning what to do with your long weekend now! July 4th is the official birthday of the U.S. and a time to spend some quality time with friends and family and celebrate this landmark occasion.


A visit to the National Park Service website will give you lots of ideas of where you can go and what you can do this 4th July. Or, you can explore the Public Lands open to you right on your doorstep. Public Lands in the US are the envy of the world and were created for the enjoyment of all, so it’s a great time to get out and explore and take advantage of these culturally rich and diverse spaces, full of history.

Did you know…

  • The U.S. has 610 million acres of federal public lands that are held in trust for all Americans?
  • That’s enough public land to create 18 states the size of Arizona or 17 the size of Illinois.
  • 25 to 80 percent of the land in most western states in the US is federal public lands.

Earthkeepers.org is a great place to learn more about public lands in America.

Types of Public Lands

There are multiple types of Public Lands which are looked after and protected by different organisations:

  1. National Parks – there are 423 ‘units’ managed and maintained by the National Park Service which cover more than 85 million acres in all 50 states. Explore one of these iconic natural beauty spots like Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite, Zion, Grand Teton or Everglades.
  2. National Forests – there are 154 national forests and 20 grasslands to explore, with over 150,000 miles of trails, 57,000 miles of streams and 338,000 heritage sites. Checkout your nearest national forest here.
  3. National Monuments – there are 128 national monument sites spread across 32 states, and there are often overlooked hidden gems, where you can find peace and tranquillity, escaping the crowds or other more well-known beauty spots. Arizona has the most national monuments of any state, with 18 of them followed by California which has 17. Some of the best national monuments include Mount St Helen’s in Washington, Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado and Utah (it straddles the two states!) and Giant Sequoia National Monument in California.
  4. National Conservation Land - 34 million acres of land, across 12 states, have been set aside as national conservation areas for scientific, cultural, historical and recreational purposes. This land is spread across 900 ‘units’ and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). This land can be used for hunting, solitude, wildlife viewing, fishing and history exploration as well as much more.  BLM ensure these spaces are respect the ties that native and traditional communities have to public lands, as well as being welcoming of diverse interests and uses. Plan a trip to a National Conservation Land.
  5. Wilderness – these are unspoilt, untouched natural areas where you can escape to to find real solitude and peace. These areas have been designated to ensure that America’s pristine wild lands do not disappear and are public lands with the highest level of protection in the U.S. These valued conservation spaces are managed by the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and the Bureau of Land Management. There are over 800 wilderness areas in the U.S. including Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, Colorado, High Uintas Wilderness, Utah, and Desolation Wilderness, California.

There’s so much to discover, right on your doorstep, so get exploring!

Read more about Public Lands here.

Or help support the funding of your Public Lands here.

Jessica Reading