4 DIY Park Clean-up Ideas

Park Day Monocacy
Park Day volunteers at Monocacy National Battlefield tend to fence maintenance.  Matt Brant

Every year the American Battlefield Trust celebrates, Park Day, our annual day of volunteerism where we partner with parks and historic places across the nation to encourage communities to come together to ensure our outdoor spaces are not only preserved but pristine. 

However, sometimes your schedule doesn’t allow you to participate in the official Park Day celebrations, or there isn’t a participating site near you. This doesn’t mean that you can’t lend your helping hand to a park near you! Explore four ways you can DIY Park Day year-round at battlefields, parks, and historic places near you. 

Make it extra special by purchasing your own Park Day Volunteer water bottle to stay hydrated while you keep things preserved and pristine. 


1. Volunteer with friends/volunteer groups 

One of the many great things battlefields and parks have to offer are dedicated Friends groups and volunteer organizations. Many of these groups coordinate organized maintenance projects including signage repair, ground maintenance, and fence repairs. Battlefields like Perryville, Gettysburg, and The Wilderness are just a few examples of established volunteer groups that you can join!  


2. Pick up Litter 

Trails see a large amount of foot traffic throughout the year and can become littered with trash left by tourists and their dogs.  With many battlefields and parks stretching over several acres, it can become difficult for the ground and maintenance crews to clear all the refuse. This is where you can lend your hand! Picking up trash found along trails and packing it out will help make the paths become cleaner environmentally and aesthetically. So next time you visit a park, remember to bring a small trash bag for anything you find along the way. 


3. Clean Signs

Signs are found all throughout parks, detailing trail systems, general information, or the history of a particular spot. These signs weather all kinds of elements resulting in a build-up of dirt, grime, bird poop, and other crud. Signs are also unfortunately often the victim of vandals and graffiti. Add a pack of wet wipes or a sponge to your battlefield bag to give your local park signs a bit of TLC when you stop to appreciate what they have to share with you. 


4. Tree limb and brush removal

After severe storms or windy days, park trails can become littered with sticks and large tree limbs. Though park maintenance crews are usually able to clear the larger limbs and fallen trees out of the way, they can’t hit every trail and path. This is another way you can help! By taking the time to help clear limbs out of the way while you hike, you can help the park greatly with time and resources as well as help those who use those trails like avid hikers, runners, and families.