Harpers Ferry, WV (PressExposure) August 18, 2011 -- On September 24, 2011, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), along with its 31 Trail Clubs will be launching Family Hiking Day. Supported in part by REI, Family Hiking Day is an opportunity to introduce families to the Appalachian Trail (A.T.), and all of the benefits that come from being active and spending time outdoors. The event will be held on National Public Lands Day and coordinating with First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Initiative.
Family Hiking Day, a program developed by the ATC, is an initiative to get people of all ages and experience levels outside and active. Hiking on the A.T. is a good source of physical exercise that provides a space for exploration of local natural resources and the opportunity to create lasting memories that will encourage long-term appreciation of protected public lands.
The ATC will be providing resources, games and activities, and a list of hikes for families to use in order to explore the A.T. in a fun, safe and engaging way. In addition, the ATC is also encouraging families to submit their stories online for a chance to win prizes and have their story shared with the A.T. community.
"The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is excited to launch this effort to get families outdoors and active on the Trail" stated Jeanne Mahoney, Volunteer Resources Coordinator of the ATC. "Hiking with your family is an adventure, and there is plenty to see and do on the A.T. Having a brief, fun hiking activity can enhance the experience for all. Whether your Trail leads to a stream, wetland, field, or forest, you will find a whole new world to explore with your senses, even if you think you already know the place well!"
The A.T. is one of the longest continuously marked footpaths in the world, measuring roughly 2,180 miles in length. The Trail goes through 14 states along the crests and valleys of the Appalachian mountain range from the southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Georgia, to the Trail's northern terminus at Katahdin, Maine. Known as the "A.T.," it has been estimated that 2-3 million people visit the Trail every year. Completed in 1937, the A.T. is a unit of the National Park System. It is managed under a unique partnership between the public and private sectors that includes, among others, the National Park Service, the USDA Forest Service, an array of state agencies, the ATC, and 31 local Trail-maintaining clubs.
For more information about Family Hike Day, resources for hiking with your family, or to enter ATC's family hiking story contest, visit http://www.appalachiantrail.org/FamilyHike.