For the last two decades, volunteers have donated their time and energy to help clean up trash in Yosemite National Park.
This year, they’re getting a special reward for their efforts. Rush Creek Lodge and Spa, a resort located near the park, is offering free spa treatments to guests at the lodge who help with the park-wide cleanup effort, called Yosemite Facelift.
Interested volunteers will get a free magnesium foot soak, which normally costs $25, as well as access to the spa’s other amenities.
“Rush Creek Spa has created an exclusive ‘thank you’ experience for lodge guests participating in Facelift,” says the resort in a statement on its website. “We hope to welcome you to Yosemite to enjoy some fresh air and warm hospitality while doing something good for our beautiful park.”
The Yosemite Facelift will take place September 20-24, though volunteers must register online before September 11 to participate.
This fall marks the 20th anniversary of the annual cleanup project. In 2003, the Yosemite Climbing Association’s founder, Ken Yager, decided that climbers should do their part to beautify Yosemite at the end of the busy summer tourism season.
Since then, the event has grown in scale. In 2019, roughly 3,000 volunteers helped pick up nearly 16,000 pounds of garbage from Yosemite, per Time Out’s Gerrish Lopez. All told, volunteers have pulled out an estimated one million pounds of trash since Yosemite Facelift’s inception.
The Yosemite Climbing Association has also expanded its Facelift efforts into other national parks and regions, including Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park and the South Lake Tahoe area. To that end, Rush Creek Lodge and Spa is also extending its free treatments to guests who participate in the association’s Groveland Facelift event, which is scheduled for September 9-10. Groveland is located about 20 miles west of Yosemite’s west entrance.
Last year, Yosemite was the sixth-busiest national park in the country, with travelers making nearly 3.7 million visits, according to the latest numbers from the National Park Service. Established in 1890 as the country’s third national park, Yosemite encompasses over 700,000 acres in eastern central California.
If you can’t make it to the Yosemite Facelift event but you’d like to help beautify public lands all the same, you have other options. National parks all over the country host volunteer events, from gardening at Indiana Dunes National Park to “Service Saturdays” at Arches National Park, which involves tasks such as picking up litter and ripping out invasive weeds.