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Celebrate (and spruce up) our national parks and forests on free Saturday

Free entry to Death Valley National Park on Saturday, where you can visit the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.

Free entry to Death Valley National Park on Saturday, where you can visit the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.

(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

National Public Lands Day on Saturday is a day set aside for volunteers to love up our parks, forests, wetlands, mountains, urban parks and beaches. It’s also a time when Americans can discover their wildest lands without paying a fee to enter.

More than 175,000 volunteers across the U.S. are expected to lend a hand for the 22nd annual event with trail building, removal of invasive plants, planting new trees and picking up tons of trash, among other activities.

In California, you can work on a section of the Los Angeles River called the Bowtie Parcel, remove garbage at Channel Islands National Park in Ventura or clean up the creek in Topanga State Park in the Santa Monica Mountains.

You’ll find all California activities listed here.

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If you want to play rather than work, you can visit these for free.

-- National parks: You won’t be charged to visit places such as Joshua Tree ($20 fee), Death Valley ($20) and Yosemite ($30). Only about a quarter of the more than 400 national parks charge an entrance fee, but those that do will be free Saturday.

-- National forests: These will be fee-free too. The closest forests to Los Angeles are the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres and San Bernardino national forests (which usually require a $5 daily Adventure Pass).

Info: National Public Lands Day

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