09/27/2010 02:33 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Celebrate Our Public Lands This Week

On Saturday September 25, Americans from all walks of life will gather on public lands across the country to celebrate National Public Lands Day. Our public lands -- national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and the lands overseen by the US Bureau of Land Management -- belong to all Americans as our natural heritage.

Started in 1994, National Public Lands Day inspires people to improve these special places through trail repair and other restoration projects. This day also serves as a reminder of the threats that face our wildest places and the efforts underway to protect them. I encourage people to find opportunities on the 25th to connect with friends and nature and help take care of our shared lands.

Arriving at the end of National Wilderness Month, National Public Lands day also comes right before Wilderness Week (September 26-30), where wilderness advocates from across the country will meet in Washington DC to discuss ways to preserve our natural treasures for years to come. They will attend workshops and events, meet with decision makers, share lessons from current campaigns and think about new ways to preserve our wilderness.

Wilderness Week could not come at a more critical time. There are 20 wildlands bills spanning 12 states and four million acres awaiting Congressional action. These 20 bills would preserve exceptional wild lands like Colorado's San Juan Mountains, Tennessee's Cherokee National Forest, along Lake Michigan's shoreline, and elsewhere. You can lend your voice by urging your Senators to protect the places you love.

Next week, The Wilderness Society staff and other local voices will be blogging and tweeting from Washington DC, so stay tuned to see what places we are working to protect.

This piece originally appeared on The Wilderness Society's blog