Monday, April 23, 2012

Spring wildflower programs hosted again in the New River Gorge

Red Trillum, a favorite flower in the gorge in April
Photo courtesy National Park Service
Every April the National Park Service in southern West Virginia hosts a cavalcade of events celebrating the appearance of spring wildflowers. Wildflower lectures and workshops are sponsored throughout the month, but the highlight coincides with the peak of the season, generally the last weekend of April.

Please feel free to join me and a dozens of other lovers of the outdoors on at least one of these outings. If you know next-to-nothing about wildflowers, that'll soon change. Rangers and other enthusiasts, expert and amateur, will be happy to share their knowledge.

Friday, April 27, 2012

1-2 p.m. -- Wildflower Wonders Lecture in auditorium at Tamarack, at Beckley, W.Va.

1-3 p.m. -- Blooms of Glade Creek Leisurely two-mile stroll along a mountan stream, near Prince, W.Va.

6-7:30 p.m. -- Basics of Field Guide Skills Bring your field guide for the easy walk at at Babcock State Park, near Clifftop, W.Va. field guides are available (at cost) at Tamarack and at the National Park Service's visitor centers at Sandstone and Canyon Rim, both of which are open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

7-8 p.m. -- Not Just a Pretty Face Lecture on the edible and medicinal uses of wildflowers at Hawks Nest State Park, at Ansted, W.Va.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

7:30- 8:45 a.m. -- Early Birding at Grandview Bring your binoculars to Shelter No. 4 at Grandview

9 a.m-1:30 p.m. -- Hike Into Spring A leisurely 2.5-mile descent along an old trail from Grandview Shelter No. 4 to the New River. We'll return by shuttle. As this hike is popular and requires shuttle service, reservations are requested by April 24; please call 304-466-0417.

2:30-4:30 p.m. -- Youth Art at Grandview Art projects for youth in the amphitheater at Grandview, W.Va.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

9-10:30 a.m. -- Spring Birding at Babcock Stroll diverse habitat in search of more secretive birds at Babcock State Park, near Clifftop, W.Va.

10 a.m.-1 p.m. -- Falls & Flowers A 2.5 miles round-trip hike along Brush Creek on this easy 2.5-mile round trip walk. Caravan from Pipestem State Park near Pipestem, W.Va.

11:30 a.m.-Noon -- Youth Art at Canyon Rim Art projects for youth in the amphitheater at Canyon Rim Visitor Center at Lansing, W.Va.

3-5 p.m. -- Hawk's Nest Wildflower Stroll A moderate one-mile wildflower scavenger hunt from the lobby at Hawks Nest State Park in Ansted, W.Va.

Dutchman's Breeches
Photo courtesy National Park Service
For more information on these spring wildflower hikes or associated lectures, please visit the Ranger Programs page or contact either of the two visitor centers for the New River Gorge National River:

Sandstone Visitor Center (304) 466-0417
Canyon Rim Visitor Center (304) 574-2115

All spring wildflower hikes and lectures are open to the public and free of charge, though reservations must be made by April 24 to participate in the "Hike into Spring" excursion on Saturday at Grandview.

Reported by David T. Sibray
For West Virginia Explorer