Southern Oregonians who enjoy spending time on public lands and wish to give a little back have various opportunities Saturday, Sept. 24, during the annual National Public Lands Day.

The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management waive day-use fees at some of the sites they manage, and the day is marked by volunteerism with an eye toward public-lands stewardship.

BLM will hold a clean-up and beautification project in and around its campground and boat ramp at the Hyatt Lake Recreation Area. The event runs from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the recreation area along the lake's southern side off Highway 66 near the Greensprings.

Those who want to put a little more time on the ground can volunteer to hike the Sterling Mine Ditch Trail and help complete a new section of the trail.

Volunteers will hike in about a mile through the Tunnel Ridge connector trail to help remedy a stretch of the historic ditch trail that is overgrown and sometimes difficult for horseback riders and cyclists to traverse. Crews will also build about 75 feet of new trail to better accommodate users.

The work party will run from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The connector trailhead is off Little Applegate Road, 3.9 miles east of its intersection with Yale Creek Road.

BLM also will host a Rogue River cleanup along 13 miles of the upper river between Cole Rivers Hatchery and Gold Hill. Volunteers will remove trash and debris along the river. Volunteers can meet at the base of Lost Creek dam. The cleanup runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

On the Umpqua National Forest, day-use fees will be waived at all of the public boat ramps on Diamond Lake and the Poole Creek ramp at Lemolo Lake.

Also, hikers can park for free at Umpqua Hot Springs, Howlock Mountain and Mount Thielsen trailheads, as well as the day-use area at South Umpqua Falls.

The fee waiver does not include Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest campgrounds operated by a concessionaire.

Lake of the Woods hosts fishing derby

Lake of the Woods Resort will host its seventh annual fall fishing derby Saturday at the resort off Highway 140 in western Klamath County.

Anglers can preregister for the derby by emailing the names, addresses and ages of participants to lowoffice@aol.com. Those who register by email need to check in at the marina Saturday to confirm their participation.

The person who catches the heaviest fish will win a one-night's stay at a resort cabin and a half-day pontoon rental. The heaviest limit of trout, which is up to five fish, will earn a night's stay in a cabin and lunch for up to four or dinner for two.

The most perch will win a full day pontoon rental, and the most unusual catch will garner dinner for two or lunch for up to four people at the Marina Grill.

Prizes will be awarded at 4 p.m.

Youth pheasant hunt success

Kids participating in last weekend's youth pheasant hunt at the Denman Wildlife Area had one of the best success rates in two decades, with the young guns averaging 1.3 birds per hunter, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

In all, 135 kids participated in the two-day hunt. They logged 323 hours of hunting and shot 179 of the 500 pen-raised pheasants released for the event, according to ODFW.

Much of the success was attributed to volunteer dog handlers who assisted two out of every three kids in the field. Most years the success rate hovers right around one bird per hunter.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.