Governor McAuliffe and the members of his Cabinet were guests of our Park in early April. They got to stay in our (almost) new cabins and to enjoy some beautiful weather – high 70s, lots of sun, and no bugs. Park staff, DCR staff, and the Friends worked to make the visit memorable, providing meals, entertainment (well, we didn’t actually provide the March Madness final, but what a game!), and even a campfire and s’mores. There were many comments on the beauty of the Park and we know everyone enjoyed the chance to spend some time relaxing in our Treasure.
If you didn’t get to visit the Park while it was on display at Samuels Library, we also had a display at the Front Royal / Warren County Visitor’s Center on Main Street. [We kept the tube so that we can get back on the river.]
But Spring is really the time to get out to the Park itself. Flowers start to show, the vernal pools are full, and the trails are dry.
Don’t forget our Spring planting for Earth Day – Check the 2017 page for dates this year – see you there.
During March the Friends had a great display at Samuels Public Library in Front Royal with highlights of the many opportunities for fun and adventure at the Park. Lots of pictures and neat stuff.
In March Shenandoah Astronomical Society members presented an outstanding program on identifying some major constellations and stars. We heard about the Society and its activities, including the frequent star gazing nights in our Park – check the Park schedule or the Society web page for dates. The Society serves the northern Shenandoah Valley promoting astronomy as an educational and recreational activity and has activities at many Valley locations – shenandoahastronomical.org
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/
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!
Jackie Bailey Labovitz shared her photographic techniques and her stunning photographs taken in our Park’s UNDERSTORY at the Friends May meeting. Jackie’s photographs are taken in natural light and printed on canvas in the tradition of fine paintings.
Jackie’s UNDERSTORY premiered in 2010 at the Smithsonian, National Museum of Natural History, Naturalist Center and has been winning awards at major exhibitions ever since. In 2013 Louis Jacobson, of Washington City Paper, named UNDERSTORY to the Top 10 Best Photography Exhibitions in Washington D.C.
Jackie doesn’t limit her talent to native plants. Her collection also includes mammals, butterflies, birds, amphibians, and insects. All of her works are for sale and you can see many of them at the Park.