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Outdoors ATC launches Family Hiking Day

On Sept. 24, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), along with its 31 Trail Clubs will be launching Family Hiking Day. Family Hiking Day is an opportunity to introduce families to the Appalachian Trail (A.T.), and the benefits that come from being active and spending time outdoors.

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.

Three hikes will be offered on local National Forest lands. The Nantahala Hiking Club hopes that parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles will bring their younsters out on the trails with experienced leaders who will share thier knowledge of hiking nature and history with the experience of a walk in the woods.

Those interested may call the following leaders to sign up for morning hikes: Jim Whitehurst, (828)526-8134 for hte Ranger Falls Trail at Cliffside; Bill Van Horn (828)369- 1983 for Winding Stair Gap; or Kay Coriell (828)369-6820 for Bartram Trail in west Franklin. All hikes are less than 3 miles long. Hikers should wear sturdy shoes, have raingear, a light jacket or sweater, water and a snack. Hikes will be cancelled if weather is rainy. For more information, visit www.appalachiantrail.org/FamilyHike.





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