Tennessee State Parks will host free, guided hikes on Saturday, June 1, encouraging outdoor enthusiasts to participate in several planned activities across the state. Each state park will host its own special hike, offering a variety of family-friendly activities including historical hikes, educational programming, re-enactments and wildlife watching.
“Tennessee State Parks will offer a variety of interesting hikes across the state and we encourage everyone to join us on this great day to fully appreciate what our 54 state parks have to offer,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau.
From Fort Pillow to Standing Stone to Warriors’ Path and every state park in between, the National Trails Day hikes are designed for all ages and abilities. Some hikes will be approximately one mile in length and tailored for novice hikers, while others are lengthier and geared toward more experienced hikers. For a more in-depth look into planned National Trails Day events in your area, please visit www.tnstateparks.com.
In addition to the variety of events planned throughout the weekend, an official Tennessee State Parks’ hiking stick medallion will be given away to the first 1,500 participants statewide.
All events are scheduled for Saturday, June 1, and all times are local. Participants should bring water and food, and wear long pants and appropriate footwear. Some activities require reservations, so please call to ensure an opportunity to participate.
The upcoming National Trails Day hikes represent the third in a series of statewide hiking events for 2013 – joining Tennessee State Parks’ First Hikes effort in early January, and Earth Day celebrations in April. Tennessee State Parks will hold an additional hiking event this fall during National Public Lands Day on September 28.
“National Trails Day helps signal the outdoor season and these hikes offer individuals and families an opportunity to connect with these special outdoor places, get outdoors and just enjoy what nature has to offer,” added TDEC Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill.
The Tennessee celebration coincides with the American Hiking Society’s annual National Trails Day, which began in 1993 and is the largest single-day trails and outdoor celebration in the country. Thousands of people are expected to get outside and participate in events at local, state and national parks, forests and other public lands from coast to coast.
Since 1993, the American Hiking Society has set aside the first Saturday in June as National Trails Day, bringing together outdoor enthusiasts to participate in educational exhibits, trail dedications, gear demonstrations, instructional workshops and trail projects. It also provides an opportunity to recognize the many volunteers, land managing agencies and outdoor-minded businesses for their support in developing and maintaining trails.
Tennessee’s 54 state parks offer diverse natural, recreational and cultural experiences for individuals, families, or business and professional groups. State park features range from pristine natural areas to 18-hole championship golf courses. Celebrating its 75th Anniversary this past year, the Tennessee State Parks system was established through legislation in 1937. Today, there is a state park within an hour’s drive of just about anywhere in the state, offering a variety of recreational, lodging and dining choices. For more information about Tennessee State Parks, please visit www.tnstateparks.com or connect via Facebook or Twitter. For a free brochure about Tennessee State Parks, call 1-888-867-2757.