Celebrate National Trails Day with a wild and wonderful hike Saturday

BUCKHANNON – The weather this Saturday, June 6, 2020, which happens to be National Trails Day, is predicted to be 87 degrees and sunny in Buckhannon – offering the perfect opportunity to get out, get moving and explore the beauty of nature.

National Trails Day recognizes all the incredible benefits federal, state and local trails provide for recreation and exposure to nature. The day encourages people to discover their local trails, become active concerning trail issues and share their excitement for the outdoors.

Locally, Rachel Garton Weber, a member of the Upshur County Trails group, said that in 2019 the group sponsored a clean-up hike to celebrate the special day.

“Due to the current pandemic, I did not plan an event for this year,” Weber said. “But I hope that everyone will get out and enjoy the trails. It’s a great place to socially distance.”

The Upshur County Trails are located to the left of Buckhannon-Upshur High School and offer nearly six miles of wining paths that feature beautiful wildflowers and offer a number of activity options that include walking, hiking, running, bicycling and dog walking. (Dogs must be kept on a leash and walkers are reminded to clean up after their pooches.)

Parking for the Upshur County Trails is beside the B-UHS parking lot. Then, follow the blue blazes to enter the trails. Folks can utilize the AllTrails app to navigate their way through the different routes.

Weber offers some suggestions for folks who wish to help with the Upshur County Trails.

“Bring a bag and help pick up litter while on the trail,” she said. “Bring a camera along and photograph some of the flowers, trees and wildlife spotted along your journey. If biking is your thing, there are plenty of fun features to play on such as berms, tabletops and jumps, step-down jumps and drops – all designed to test your skill.”

Weber also suggests you bring along water and apply some bug repellent and sunscreen before setting off on a hike.

“If you are a runner, this is a nice place to try trail running if you typically run on the road,” she added. “It’s a great place to walk your dog.”

Weber said folks are welcome to join the Upshur County Trails Facebook page as well.

Those who wish to celebrate National Trails Day a little further from home may want to check out www.wvstateparks.com to learn about potential activities across West Virginia on Saturday.

Some of the activities listed include a National Trails Day Hike at Chief Logan State Park and a Wildlife Exhibit Tour. These activities are free and open to the public; however, they are subject to change as the governor’s COVID-19 directives are updated, so best to call 304-855-6100 to assure the activities are still happening.

Another fun activity planned and listed on the WV State Parks website is a hike at Cass Scenic Railroad to celebrate National Trails Day. This hike is planned to begin at 6 p.m. and will take roughly 1.5 hours to cover the 3 miles.

The hike will feature an wildlife interpreter and conversation about how the trail went from the C&O Railroad to a trail. Those making the hike will receive a patch. Anyone interested should call 304-456-4300 to assure the event will still take place.

Tygart Lake State Park in Grafton has a National Trails Day Hike planned that includes about a ¾ mile hike along the Dam Trail – led by a naturalist/interpreter. To verify the activity and learn more, call 304-265-6142 or email Jacob.a.jackson@wv.gov.

Beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday, a park naturalist from Blackwater Falls is scheduled to Celebrate National Black Bear Day. This event will begin at the Nature Center and includes a black bear aware presentation, a fun game and a craft. All ages are welcome – children should bring their parents to participate. Additional information and questions about the event should be directed to 304-259-5216.

Also at Blackwater Falls State Park, a guided walk is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. beginning at the parking area of the seasonal petting zoo. This hike is approximately two miles and will follow an old horseback riding trail and cross- country ski only trail. A commemorative trails day patch will be presented to all those who participate.

The West Virginia State Parks Calendar website offers other hiking opportunities more distant from Buckhannon to celebrate National Trails Day.

And remember, West Virginia residents booking a stay at one of the State Park Resorts are eligible for a 30 percent discount on lodging to all West Virginia residents due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This offer is valid on all lodge rooms, cabins and campsite stays through August 31, 2020.

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