Press release from the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation:
Kids in Parks is inviting families to enjoy guided hikes and animal encounters in celebration of the first national TRACK Trails Day on Saturday, August 24. This nationwide day of nature adventures highlights the 10th anniversary of the Kids in Parks program. This program is comprised of a network of TRACK Trails that feature self-guided activities, turning park visits into fun and exciting outdoor experiences.
Activities at Asheville-area sites include:
ecoEXPLORE Herpetology Season Summit
North Carolina Arboretum, Asheville – 10 a.m., Saturday, August 24
Families can meet a herpetologist and live animals, and help track wild box turtles. Children must complete exoEXPLORE activities to participate. Visit www.ecoexplore.net for more details.
Ranger-led Adventure at Rumbling Bald
Rumbling Bald at Chimney Rock State Park, Lake Lure – 11 a.m., Saturday, August 24
A ranger will lead a TRACK Trail adventure at the Rumbling Bald Climbing access. A shuttle bus will be available from the Chimney Rock Access at 10:30 a.m.
Family Hike on Great Woodland Adventure Trail
Chimney Rock State Park, Lake Lure – 12:30 p.m., Saturday, August 24
Park staff will lead a hike along the Great Woodland Adventure Trail inside the Chimney Rock Access (entry fee required).
Family Animal Encounters
Chimney Rock State Park, Lake Lure – 2 p.m., Saturday, August 24
Join a park naturalist for an informal program with live animals inside Chimney Rock Access (entry fee required, program is free).
All year long, free brochures at every TRACK Trail location encourage children to truly engage with the outdoors by identifying trees and birds, viewing the forest from the perspective of animals, and searching for natural features, among other fun activities. The ease of the hikes and educational materials provide a positive introduction to outdoor activities. As a bonus, participants can earn free prizes in the mail for registering their TRACK Trail adventures online.
Kids in Parks works to encourage children and parents to improve wellness by venturing outdoors and “unplugging” from the distractions of modern life. In a time when children have become increasingly disconnected with nature, the benefits of outdoor play can be dramatic and long lasting. And not only do people benefit from being outdoors, but parks also benefit when people use them. Stronger connections between children and parks cultivate stewards who will understand the value of public lands.
Kids in Parks began with the installation of a TRACK Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville, N.C., in 2009, and was developed by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation in partnership with the National Park Service and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation.
Today, there are nearly 200 TRACK Trails across 12 states, and Washington, D.C., including more than 100 in North Carolina. Together, they comprise a national network of trails where kids and families can hike, bike, canoe, play disc golf, and more, all while learning about the natural, cultural, and historical resources located at each site.
To learn more about Kids in Parks, get driving directions to the events listed, or find other National TRACK Trails Day celebrations, visit KidsinParks.com.