From contributed reports
All 35 Virginia State Parks will host special programs and events Saturday, June 8, as part of the fifth annual National Get Outdoors Day (GO Day), to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun. Scheduled programming offers opportunities for families to experience traditional and nontraditional types of outdoor activities – from hiking to geocaching.
“In this time when many of us are less connected to the outdoors – our kids spend 6.5 hours a day watching screens – GO Day is intended to reach first-time visitors to our parks, as we help them reconnect with nature,” said State Parks Director Joe Elton. “For the first time, American children are predicted to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. National events like GO Day help bring awareness to this crisis. Virginia State Parks are part of the prescription to make better choices toward healthier lifestyles.”
Programs across the state include guided nature hikes, geocaching, canoeing and kayaking. Visitors wishing to explore on their own can rent GPS units or enjoy self-guided hikes. Many parks have available for checkout backpacks that contain binoculars, field guides and other tools. A list of such programs can be found at bit.ly/GODay2013. The Virginia State Parks search tool makes it easy to search by program, date or specific park at 1.usa.gov/vspsearch.
June 8 is also part of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Free Fishing Weekend; an opportunity to grab a fishing pole and head out to a Virginia State Park to fish without paying for a license. Select state parks will offer special GO Day fishing programs.
Last year more than 138 official GO Day sites across the nation welcomed more than 70,000 new faces to the joy and benefits of the great outdoors. GO Day is an outgrowth of the Get Outdoors USA! campaign, which encourages Americans, especially youngsters, to seek out active outdoor lives and embrace our parks, forests, refuges and other public lands and waters. For more information on National Get Outdoors Day, visit www.nationalgetoutdoorsday.org
Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. For more information about park activities and amenities or to make reservations in one of the more than 1,800 campsites or 300 climate-controlled cabins, call 800-933-PARK or visit virginiastateparks.gov.