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Celebrate National Public Lands Day at Grand Canyon National Park and Kaibab National Forest

Grand Canyon's walls are home to many fossilized sea creatures like this bryozoan. (Mike Quinn/NPS)

Grand Canyon's walls are home to many fossilized sea creatures like this bryozoan. (Mike Quinn/NPS)

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — Northern Arizona is jam-packed with outdoor recreation opportunities, and National Public Lands Day is the perfect time to get out and explore everything it has to offer.

National parks, national forests and state parks are waiving entry fees and hosting a variety of programs for all ages Sept. 28.

Grand Canyon National Park

Sept. 27

Grand Canyon National Park will host a paleontology symposium from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Shrine of the Ages. Park staff will offer an evening of fossil discovery and learning with paleontologists and speakers to highlight Grand Canyon's most notable fossil discoveries.

Sept. 28

A fossil discovery walk takes place from 9 to 10 a.m. at Bright Angel trailhead. Walk among brachiopods, sponges, and other marine creatures that thrived on this part of the continent 270 million years ago, before the age of the dinosaurs. This easy 1/2-mile one-way walk explores an exposed fossil bed along the rim.

The park will host a naturalization ceremony beginning at 10 a.m. at Mather Point Amphitheater. Fifteen people from a host of different countries will be sworn in as American citizens.

Meet with partner organizations such as American Geoscience Institute, Museum of Northern Arizona, Southwestern Paleontological Society, and others from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Visitor Center and Yavapai Geology Museum.

Yavapai Geology Museum will host Fun with Fossils from 10 a.m. to noon. Discover why fossils are important. Fun fossil games and activities for kids of all ages. Meet Grand Canyon scientists and ask your questions.

The park will host a welcome ceremony at Mather Point Amphitheater from 1 to 2 p.m. Join park staff for a welcome ceremony, event proclamation, and remarks by visiting scientists.

The park will conclude National Fossil Day and National Public Lands Day with a special centennial evening program beginning at 7:30 p.m. at shrine of the Ages. Join NPS Senior Paleontologist, Vincent Santucci, for a special centennial celebration of the rich Paleontological Heritage at Grand Canyon National Park.

Kaibab National Forest

Looking to volunteer to keep public lands beautiful and accessible? Kaibab National Forest will host an appreciation and service project event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kaibab Lake Campground Amphitheater. Participants will help pull weeds, prepare an area for a pollinator garden and native plants, or pick up fishing line and trash along the lake shore. Visit discovery tables to learn about Arizona big game animals and forestry techniques.

Gloves and bags for trash pickup will be provided, as well as some tools for the weed pull and garden prep. Please bring hat, water, sunscreen, proper footwear, and personal tools and work gloves if preferred and available. Long sleeved shirts and pants are suggested. Snacks and drinks will be provided.

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