The Forest Service (George Washington & Jefferson National Forests), U.S. Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, is sponsoring a “Come Outside and Play” event at Glen Alton in Giles County, Virginia on Saturday, June 4, 2011 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Partners from a number of local organizations will be on hand to teach skills, lead activities, guide hikes, and give presentations. The event will feature a variety of activities for all ages including:
* Wetland hikes (every hour) – Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Virginia Master Naturalists
* Fly tying and hunting macro-invertebrates – Trout Unlimited
* Raptor identification (on-going) – Friends of Hanging Rock
* Kids fishing and fish simulator machine (on-going) – Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
* Leaf and tree identification walks (10 a.m., noon, and 2 p.m.) – Girl Scouts
* Fish identification (ongoing) – Forest Service Center for Aquatics
* Historic lodge tours (11 a.m. and 1 p.m.) – Forest Service
* Chestnut display (ongoing) – American Chestnut Foundation
* Mud Pie Kitchen (ongoing) – Forest Service
* Anniversary of the Weeks Act / Toys of the 1920’s (on-going) – Forest Service
* Free hotdogs and lemonade (11 a.m.) – Friends of Glen Alton
In honor of National Trails Day, three additional guided hikes will begin at 3 p.m. Participants for these hikes will gather at Glen Alton and drive to the trailheads. Craig Mohler will lead a hike on the newly completed Potts Rail Trail; the Appalachian Trail Conservancy will lead a hike on the A.T. starting at Pine Swamp Trailhead; and Brian Hurt will lead a hike to the Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory.
“Come Outside and Play” is part of a larger initiative known as America’s Great Outdoors which encourages all Americans to enjoy their natural and cultural heritage. Outdoor recreation provides Americans physical and emotional rejuvenation and promotes outdoor conservation. Federal agencies provide exceptional recreational opportunities on more than 600 million acres of land that receive more than a billion visits each year.