The Potomac Valley Audubon Society is planning a field trip to West Virginia's Cathedral State Park on Saturday, Sept. 15. The trip will be led by Master Naturalist Clark Dixon and include a guided park tour led by the park's naturalist.
The tour will start at 11 a.m. and last about one-and-a-half hours. Afterwards, the trip group will travel to nearby Blackwater Falls State Park for a lunch before departing for home.
Anyone with an interest is welcome to participate, including families with children. However, space will be limited to only 20 people so pre-registration is essential.
Located in southeastern Preston County, Cathedral State Park contains the only stand of mixed virgin timber left in West Virginia. The park gets its name from its many ancient hemlocks, which reach majestic proportions and form spectacular natural cloisters. They are one of the last remnants of a vast virgin hemlock forest that once flourished in the Appalachian highlands.
It was entered in the National Registry for Natural Historical Landmarks in 1966 as "an area that possesses exceptional value in illustrating the natural history of the United States."
The drive to the park from the Eastern Panhandle is about two-and-a-half hours long.
Because of the distances involved, those who wish to carpool should plan to meet at the Food Lion supermarket parking lot on Route 51 in Inwood, just off I-81; carpoolers will depart from there at 8 a.m.
For those who prefer to drive on their own to the park, take I-81 south to the Route 37 bypass around the west side of Winchester; from there, take Route 50 west all the way through the Maryland panhandle and back into West Virginia. The park is approximately five miles west of Red House, Md.
Trip participants should wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the season. Because of the park's altitude, air temperatures there are likely to be significantly cooler than in the Eastern Panhandle.
For more information about the trip, contact Ms. Wolf. For more information about the park, see its website at www.cathedralstatepark.com.