SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — To celebrate early spring greening and St. Patrick’s Day, 10 West Virginia state parks and forests will host Green Day Hikes in March.
Green Day Hikes are free to attend and will be led by park naturalists and superintendents. Participants who complete one of the hikes will receive a shamrock patch. Hikers are encouraged to bring water, dress for cool weather and wear green for the occasion.
Saturday, March 14
Cacapon Resort State Park
Naturalist Valerie Chaney will lead a 2.5-mile hike on Central Trail and Ziler Loop. Hikers will meet at 10 a.m. at the Nature Center for a briefing, then drive to Batt Picnic Area parking lot. “We’ll focus on spring’s arrival and see what green is emerging along the streams and mountainsides,” Chaney said.
Cass Scenic Railroad State Park
Kailey Price will lead a hike at 1 p.m. from the Cass Visitor’s Center. The 3-mile round trip takes place on a flat, crushed gravel surface. It’s an easy hike that will take about an hour and a half depending on weather conditions.
Chief Logan State Park
Naturalist Lauren Cole will lead a hike at 10 a.m. from the Museum/Park Office. The group will look for the early arrival of flowers or tree buds during short interpretative stops.
Holly River State Park
Park Superintendent Doug Wiant will lead hike at 11 a.m. from the Anderson Activity Building. The group will look for different shades of green in grass, moss, flowers, or any other plant.
Kanawha State Forest
Park Superintendent Chris Bartley and friends will lead a hike at 10 a.m. from the park headquarters/nature center. “We’ll do a little nature interpretation along the trail. There may be a spring bloom or two, but for the most part, we’ll hike,” Bartley said. “In March, we never know, but if you show, we go.”
North Bend State Park
Naturalist Maddy Shaffer will lead a 1.5-mile hike on the Giant Tree Trail. Hikers will meet at 10 a.m. at the lodge to look for new growth in the Old Growth Forest.
Pipestem Resort State Park
Meet Park Naturalist Julie McQuade at 12:45 p.m. at McKeever Lodge for a group photo. From there, she’ll lead a 3-mile hike around Long Branch Lake. This moderate hike will take about two hours.
Tygart Lake State Park
Meet park naturalist Jacob Jackson at 1 p.m. at the campground area for a hike on the new Bus Loop Trail. The hike is approximately two miles and includes some moderately strenuous terrain.
Sunday, March 15
Twin Falls Resort State Park
Tammy Cooper and friends will lead two hikes on the Falls Trail. One at noon and another at 4 p.m. Meet at the Falls Parking area. Twin Falls Restaurant is open daily and welcomes areas residents and park visitors.
Tuesday, March 17 and Saturday, March 21
Blackwater Falls State Park
Naturalist Paulita Cousin will lead two hikes. On March 17, meet at 11 a.m. at the trail head of the Gentle Trail for an interpretive walk along Balsam Fir Trail. On March 21, meet at 10 a.m. in the parking area of the former stables for a 2-mile hike on Stemwinder Grade Trail and Red Spruce Riding Trail.
About the Green Day Hike Patch
The round, kelly green patch has a white embroidered shamrock on it. Shamrocks are associated with St. Patrick and Irish folklore. They’re a symbol of empowerment and pride and have been used for medicinal purposes.
The shamrock is a sorrel (Oxalis) that grows mostly in the shady soil of the woods, near rocks, on mossy banks and or anywhere there is moisture. In West Virginia there are five native Wood Sorrels (Oxalis) listed in the Atlas of Vascular Flora of West Virginia: Slender Yellow, Great Yellow, Yellow, and Violet Wood Sorrel.