The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) Visitor Center in Harpers Ferry, is hosting the 2nd annual Family Hiking Day on Sept. 29, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Held on National Public Lands Day, Family Hiking Day is a program developed by the ATC to introduce families to the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) and all of the benefits that come from spending time outdoors. This event is free and open to the public.
Families can visit the ATC's Visitor Center to pick up a Junior Ranger Adventure Guide booklet, a guide developed by the National Park Service and the ATC, to complete while hiking the Trail. The guide covers basic facts about the A.T. and caring for the trail. After taking a self-guided hike along the A.T. in Harpers Ferry and completing the booklet, participants will receive a Junior Ranger badge or patch.
"The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is proud to host Family Hiking Day," said Mark Wenger, executive director/CEO of the ATC. "It's a great opportunity to engage families with the outdoors, promote physical exercise and encourage people to explore their local natural resources."
The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. Stretching from Georgia to Maine, the A.T. is approximately 2,180 miles in length, making it one of the longest, continuously marked footpaths in the world. Volunteers typically donate more than 220,000 hours of their time doing trail-related work each year, and about 2 to 3 million visitors walk a portion of the A.T. each year. This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the completion of the A.T.
For more information about Family Hiking Day and resources for hiking with your family, visit www.appalachiantrail.org/FamilyHike.