SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Are you up to the “Chief’s Challenge?” West Virginia State Parks Chief Sam England says 2016 is the year for hiking in West Virginia state parks and state forests.
“It’s simple. I like to hike and I’m challenging individuals or groups who enjoy our state parks and forest trails and pathways to enjoy them as I do, on foot,” England explained.
The Chief’s Challenge is to hike or walk 100 miles in 2016 on state park or state forest trails or pathways. Ten miles of the 100 mile goal should be with a naturalist and the other 90 are solo or with friends and family at any of West Virginia state parks or forests.
“It’s an achievable goal over the course of a calendar year. It’s also a great way to meet some outstanding naturalists and interpreters in our state parks system,” England said.
Summer state parks activities often include scheduled guided hikes, and parks with lodges and cabins frequently have scheduled hikes in the not-summer months. A First Day Hike Jan. 1, Full Moon Hikes at Cass Scenic Railroad, National Trails Day (June 4) and other special hikes are updated on the Events Calendar on the park system website. Groups of eight or more enrolling in the Chief’s Challenge can take advantage of booking a hike in advance with a park naturalist at mutually convenient times. Those parks include Blackwater Falls, Tygart Lake, Twin Falls, North Bend, Cacapon and Pipestem.
Participation is free, but enrollment is required. Enrollees receive a Chief’s Challenge sticker soon after they sign up. Information on the state parks website has stimulated early interest.
“With more than 140 people already enrolled, I’m encouraged with the response. It’s great to have people engaged in the same hiking activities that I personally enjoy,” said England. “Depending upon miles logged and interest, we may have to have a great big hot cocoa party and early winter hike to celebrate.”
Chief’s Challenge information is posted at www.wvstateparks.com/Hikes_Walks.html and includes an enrollment link and mileage log sheet.