HARRISBURG – Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn recently announced that DCNR is partnering with the Keystone Trail Association to offer guided hikes across the state during the week starting Saturday, May 28. A calendar of hikes can be found at ExplorePAtrails.com.
Dunn urged Pennsylvanians to embrace healthy lifestyles while enjoying the outdoors during the annual Hiking Week, which steps off Saturday, May 28 through June 5, and includes National Trails Day on Saturday, June 4.
“The ‘welcome mat’ is out to novices and trail-hardened veterans alike, inviting them to hike in our state parks, forests and municipal greenways in this annual salute to healthy exercise and the our special outdoors places,” Dunn said.
“Hiking is easy and inexpensive, all you need is a pair of comfortable shoes and some water. The holiday weekend provides a great opportunity to get a hike in.”
Dunn noted guided hikes offer a great opportunity for non-hikers to learn the skills necessary for a safe day outdoors.
“Pennsylvania’s trails offer something for everyone — flat and easy footpaths to leisurely stroll, strenuous and challenging climbs – to test your limits, and everything in between. Along the way the views vary from pastoral to breath-taking, thanks to the diversity of flora, fauna, and geography in the Keystone State,” said Keystone Trails Association Executive Director Joseph Neville.
“The trails through our parks and forests are primarily free from the sights and sounds of the mechanized world. We can enjoy our state’s plentiful resources while we unplug, stretch our legs, and connect with nature. Join us out on the trails during Pennsylvania Hiking Week.”
Special events planned by DCNR and the KTA will take place in parks, forests, cities and towns across the state. All of the scheduled hikes have leaders and include a variety of lengths and terrain. Special hikes include wildflower walks; hikes to show appreciation for veterans; and pet and geology walks.
Dunn will participate in an event that includes a hike at the Standing Stone Trail in Huntingdon County beginning at 9:30 a.m. at Greenwood Furnace State Park on Tuesday, May 31.
Standing Stone Trail is the 2016 Trail of the Year. Dunn also will speak at an official National Trails Day event on June 4 at the Columbia Riverfront Park trailhead of the 14-mile long North West Lancaster County River Trail in Columbia, Lancaster County. This event will celebrate the completion of a two-mile section of trail between Columbia and Chickies Rock County Park.
Pennsylvania’s statewide outdoor recreation plan identifies walking for pleasure or fitness as the most popular outdoor recreation activity in Pennsylvania. A goal of that plan, which was just named best in the nation for the second time, is to provide a trail within 15 minutes of every Pennsylvanian.
Organized in 1956, KTA is a 1,306-member umbrella organization made up of 44 hiking and outdoors organizations in and around Pennsylvania. For details on hiking clubs across the state, visit www.KTA-Hike.org.