Take a hike in the wild on National Trails Day this Saturday, June 1, 2013. Thousands of people around the country will take part in planned events or strike out on their own in celebration of the thousands of miles of established trails traversing the varied terrain of our fifty states. People will hike, bike, ride horseback, paddle canoes or kayaks, birdwatch, geocache, enjoy gear demonstrations and take part in stewardship projects.
National Trails Day was established in 1991 when the American Hiking Society designed a program to point out the importance of the National Trails System while promoting greater trail use and volunteer management of the trails. One day is set aside each year to celebrate America’s magnificent trail system.
Central Florida has a network of trails that range from wheelchair accessible paved multi-use trails to rugged wilderness trails through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) wildlife management areas (WMA). The Florida National Scenic Trail is one such trail that passes through several WMAs. There are places to hike for every ability and interest. Find more information about trails in WMAs on the FWC website.
For individuals who prefer paddling over hiking there are several state designated paddling trails in the area. The Wekiva River/Rock Springs Run paddling trail is a popular one near Orlando. For natural beauty the Econlockhatchee river trail is difficult to beat. For more information on paddling trails in the area visit the Florida Paddling Trails Association website.
Birders and wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy following the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. The 2,000-mile, self-guided highway trail is well-marked with signs leading people each of the 514 sites in a network throughout the state that offer the best birdwatching, wildlife viewing or educational opportunities. For more information visit the Great Florida Birding Trail website.
Many activities have been planned by hiking organizations in the state to celebrate National Trails Day. The Volusia County Parks, Recreation and Culture Division will hold an event at Green Springs Park from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Starting at 9:00 a.m. the Volusia Transportation Planning Organization will give away free children’s bicycle helmets. A nature hike and historical walking tour are scheduled, as well.
For more information about the National Trails Day visit the American Hiking Society website.