National Trails Day is Saturday, June 1, and several West Virginia state parks and state forests have scheduled guided hikes for that day, plus other activities for the weekend.
In 1992, the American Hiking Society launched a day of celebrating trails and hiking experience. Since then, the first Saturday in June has been designated as National Trails Day.
In 2012, for the event’s 20th anniversary, an estimated 157,000 Americans participated in more than 2,000 events, according to the AHS.
“National Trails Day is an event designed to unite all muscle-powered trail activities with the goal of connecting more people to trails,” said Sissie Summers, a programming coordinator with West Virginia State Parks.
Here is a rundown of what was scheduled at press time. For the latest information, go to www.wvstateparks.com, and search for “National Trails Day.”
Chief Logan State Park
Join Naturalist Lauren Cole for a morning hike on the Rattlesnake/Coal Mine Trail. Meet at 9 a.m. at the activities building. The entire hike is about 2-1/2 miles, and the trails are not difficult. Hikers completing the event with Cole will receive a patch and certificate of accomplishment to celebrate hiking. Call 304-855-6100 for more information.
Kanawha State Forest
At Kanawha State Forest, hikers can choose between a short-distance hike and a longer hike. Naturalist and interpreter Dave Dendler and volunteer leaders will meet with hikers at the nature center/old pool parking lot at 9 a.m. The Spotted Salamander Trail hike takes about 45 minutes and is an accessible trail. The CCC Snipe Trail hike is the longer choice and will take about an hour and a half. Call 304-558-3500 for more information.
Cass Scenic Railroad State Park
Cass Scenic Railroad’s interpreter will be leading a hike departing from the Company Store complex. Start time will be posted on the state parks website at wvstateparks.com/event/national-trails-day-hike. Questions may be directed to Kailey.J.Gibson@wv.gov or call 304-456-4300.
North Bend State Park
Family Trails Weekend at North Bend is three days of outdoor activity, with a featured hike on June 1. Between Friday and Sunday, there are other outdoor activities for families. These include guided hikes and walks, paddles on the lake and bike rides on the North Bend Rail Trail.
Environmental education programs are also scheduled throughout the weekend to help visitors understand the relationship between recreation and land/habitat use and resources. For more information, contact naturalist and environmental educator Ken Zebo at email@example.com or call the park at 304-643-2931.
Tygart Lake State Park
A 2 p.m. hike will be led by Jacob Jackson, naturalist/interpreter. This is a 1-1/2-hour hike. The hike will begin from the campground area and cover about two miles of hiking. A commemorative patch will be presented at the conclusion to each hiker. For more details, call Tygart Lake State Park at 304-265-6148 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beech Fork State Park
A guided hike with a naturalist is planned. The trail is easy and suitable for children. Beech Fork is known as a good birdwatching area. Meet at the campfire circle near the park headquarters at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Call 304-528-5794 for more information.
Those participating in National Trails Day hikes should dress comfortably and wear closed-toe shoes or sturdy hiking boots. Bring water. If desired, hikers might want to bring a journal for notes, camera or binoculars.