Join us March 10 as the Shenandoah Astronomical Society helps us look at all those things up there. We will learn about the Society, its activities – including those in our Park – and hopefully if the weather permits, give us a chance to look at things through a telescope. The Society serves the northern Shenandoah Valley promoting astronomy as an educational and recreational activity. Telescopes will be provided or bring yours or your binoculars. The meeting will start at the visitors center at 7PM.
What happens on a beautiful, crisp January 1? Nearly 100 old and new friends join to hike our gorgeous park.
There was a family from Massachusetts, a young woman from California, and lots of folks from near and far Virginia. Many said they would be back – not just next year but often to enjoy the park year round. Please join us any time.
At the Friends October meeting George Mason University students Ashley Palmer and Mimi Fuerst gave a great presentation about their semester at the Smithsonian- Mason Conservation Studies Program and their internships at the Park. Students today have many opportunities to get out of the classroom and to have hands-on experience in their study areas. Ashley and Mimi help Park staff with conservation and educational programs – what better place than our beautiful 1600 acres?
The collaboration between GMU and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) at Front Royal immerses students in an active research community, where they live and work side-by-side with scientists and scholars from both the Smithsonian and the University. The program was established by SCBI and GMU to aid the Smithsonian’s global effort to conserve species and to train future generations of conservationists. Learn more at http://smconservation.gmu.edu/programs/undergraduate/
On Sunday, September 21 over 30 energetic Friends and friends of the river – some from as far away as Arlington and McLean – spent several hours hauling trash out of the South Fork of the Shenandoah adjacent to the Park. Tires, soda and beer cans and bottles, construction material, a camera, a bed frame, and lots of other stuff were removed. The Friends thank all the great folks who turned out to help the environment and Downriver and Front Royal Canoe companies for providing our boats.
It was a beautiful day!
Activities for 2014 included a look at our weather with meteorologist Kemp Miller, a trip to historic White House Farm in Page County, river discovery with a tube trip on the South Fork, and a look at the trees in the Park with Carrie Blair. Activities are designed to enhance a child’s awareness of, and appreciation for, the natural environment.
Junior Ranger Day Camp is sponsored by the Friends. The camp runs Monday through Thursday from 9 AM to noon and is generally held the last week in July and the first week in August. Watch for 2015 dates. The Friends also sponsor a self-guided Junior Ranger program for children and their parents.
For more information on either program call the Park, 540-622-6840, or write Shenandoah River State Park, 350 Daughter of Stars Drive, Bentonville, VA 22610, attention Junior Ranger.
At the Friends June meeting we had a presentation by Katherine Rindt on several local hikes that are family friendly.
Katherine discussed seven hikes ranging from one to eight miles. Exploring a variety of terrain and spectacular views along the Blue Ridge, these loop hikes are all doable by beginners, although Katherine pointed out that a couple are somewhat difficult. Katherine shared pictures, maps, directions, and tips for a safe hike.
Check out the hikes here. Hikes
Katherine has been a member of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club since 1991, becoming involved in trail maintenance while supporting her husband in his 1996 thru-hike. They are currently the overseers for AT sections in Thompson Wildlife Management Area and Shenandoah National Park. Katherine represents the Appalachian Trail Conference on the Front Royal Appalachian Trail Community Committee.
When you visit Shenandoah River State Park you will likely enjoy one or more of our hiking trails – 26 miles of beautiful easy walks to moderately difficult hikes. You will spend time looking for plants and wildlife, especially the many birds.
Have you ever wondered what the birds see when they watch you hiking their park? You now have a chance to find out. You can get a view of the park and surrounding mountains from up in the trees. You can just about fly from tree to tree.
Virginia Canopy Tours (TM) will take you to the top of Allen’s Mountain and, except for two short nature hikes, return you to the bottom without your feet touching the ground. I had the opportunity to do the treetop tour in late April. It was a blast! Out two guides, Tabby and Ben, outfitted us, gave us safety instruction and an idea what to expect, and then it was a ride up the mountain.
Coming down was pure pleasure. There are eight zip lines – including one 1035 feet long with speed estimated up to 40 mph – two rope bridges and a final rappel. Tabby and Ben handled all the technical stuff and we all felt completely safe.
This is a chance to do something many people never get a chance to try – and what could be better than having lots of fun while you are doing it?
For more information visit Virginia Canopy Tours at ZIPthePARK.com, or if you are already in the park, come to the Zip the Park office and talk to Bonnie or Marc or any of the guides. Enjoy!