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National Trails Day to promote hiker awareness

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

The Shenandoah River Raymond R. "Andy" Guest Jr. State Park is one of many throughout Virginia participating in National Trails Day on June 2.

National Trails Day is sponsored by the American Hiking Society as a way to get hikers and the public to learn more about trails as they participate in clinics, work projects and other activities, according to a news release from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

"With more than 500 miles of trails as well as access to water trails on the major rivers and lakes of Virginia, the Commonwealth's 35 state parks are perfect destinations for everything from a strenuous hike, river paddle or a casual walk through the woods," the release states. "Every Virginia State Park will have special activities on June 2."

At the Shenandoah River State Park, the visitor center will hand out checklists about flowers, trees and wildlife living along the popular Bluebell Trail 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 2, according to the DCR's website.

Also at the park that day, volunteers can pick up trash left along the banks of the river or in the river itself from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. as part of Clean the Bay Day, according to the site.

Volunteers are to meet in the parking lot of the main canoe launch, unless they bring their own canoes, in which case they should meet at the low-water bridge in Bentonville. Call Jennifer at 622-6840 for more information.

There are various other educational activities planned at the park that day. For more information, visit the DCR site.

Those looking for a little more work to do, can visit Sky Meadows State Park, which sits in Clarke and Fauquier counties, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. June 2. According to the DCR site, volunteers are asked to bring clippers, swing blades, rakes and gloves, and are suggested to wear long pants and sleeves, and hiking or work boots.

The park will work with Blue Ridge Mountain Sports to do trail maintenance and clean up and present Hiking 101, according to the site. Those in attendance will be served lunch, water and energy bars, the site states.

To register for the Sky Meadows' work, email skymeadows@dcr.virginia.gov, or call 592-3556.

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