Celebrate Public Lands with Outdoor Fun, Food, and Music

Contact(s): Barry Garten (276) 783-5196

(September 13, 2018) Marion, Va – The USDA Forest Service together with the Friends of Mount Rogers and other partners invite you to celebrate National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 22, 2018. This special “Celebrate Public Lands” event will take place from 9 AM until 2 PM at the Pat Jennings Visitor Center at 3714 Highway 16 on VA 16 south of Marion.

9:00 a.m. – Guided 2.8 mile hike on the Appalachian Trail and guided half-mile nature hike on the Two Ponds Trail by the AmeriCorps National Civilian Conservation Corps crew.  Bring along some water and wear appropriate footwear.

9:30 a.m. – Learn about black bears and what you can do to keep bears wild with Kathryn Herndon, Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

9:30 a.m. – Guided half-mile nature walk around the Two Ponds Trail by AmeriCorps National Civilian Conservation Corps crews.

10:00 a.m. – Smokey Bear Story with Smokey Bear

10:30 a.m. – Native Wildlife Presentation by Darin Handy from All Are God’s Creatures Sanctuary. Come take a look at some of the most amazing creatures that call the Appalachian Mountains their home. Learn three keys that every single human can do to ensure these wonders remain a part of one of the most unique eco-systems in the world.

11:45 a.m. – Hot dog lunch and music by Valley Grass provided free of charge by the Friends of Mount Rogers.

1:30 p.m. – Leave No Trace presentation by Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards Sadie Yinger and Christine Parrish.  Learn how to be a wilderness Ninja who can make and break camp in a snap and take on problem bears and lightning storms while traveling through the high country as undetected as Bigfoot.

All during the day you can visit with and learn about volunteer groups in our area that help maintain horse trails, the Virginia Creeper Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and the American Chestnut trees. The kids can become a Junior Forest Ranger and participate in a nature craft.  Representatives from the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards and the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps will be on hand to explain their programs.

The Pat Jennings Visitor Center serves as the headquarters and gateway to the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. Located only 6 miles from Exit 45 off I-81, the visitor center is in a peaceful mountain setting and adjacent to the Appalachian Trail. The center is a great place to learn more about the area and pick up maps, natures guides, and memorabilia. Clean restrooms, picnic tables, and the Two Ponds Nature Trail make this an ideal stop for visitors.

On Saturday, September 22, volunteers across the country will visit their favorite parks, beaches, wildlife preserves and forests to give back to the treasured lands where we play, learn, and relax in celebration of the 25th annual National Public Lands Day.

For more information, please contact the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area at (276) 783-5196.