By Wendy Holdren
The 10th annual New River Gorge Wildflower Weekend will be April 19-21 at New River Gorge National River, Babcock State Park, Hawks Nest State Park, Little Beaver State Park, Pipestem Resort State Park and Tamarack.
All programs are free, but it is recommended to bring water and wear sturdy hiking shoes for guided walks. Snacks, binoculars, a hand lens and a favorite field guide are also useful.
The events kick off Friday, April 19, with “Handy-Work for Earth Day: Garlic Mustard Pull” from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. near Prince at the Glade Creek trailhead on Glade Creek Access Road in New River Gorge National River.
Participants are invited to team up with park staff to help remove invasive plant species. Long sleeves, long pants, sturdy walking shoes and work gloves are recommended. To make reservations, call 304-465-6523.
From noon to 2 p.m., hit the Rend Trail on Rt. 25 near Thurmond for “Wildflower ID 101: Basic Field Guide Skills” for a close-up look at blossoms on this easy walk.
A Youth Arts in the Parks Performance Celebration will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium at Tamarack. Visitors can see how nature has inspired youth performance arts. Ansted Middle School’s Show Choir, Dance It! Dance Studio, New River Youth Symphony and Park Middle School’s drama group will perform.
From 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. Saturday at Grandview, everyone is invited to bring binoculars for some bird watching at Shelter No. 4 at New River Gorge National River.
Afterward, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., join naturalists on a 2.5-mile hike from Grandview down to the New River, finding wildflowers along the way. A free return shuttle will be provided. Reservations are requested by Wednesday by calling 304-466-0417.
Artists will demonstrate glass etching and wood carving from 4 to 5:30 p.m. near Tamarack’s front entrance and art studios. Cameras will also be available to try your hand at close-up flower photography. From 6 to 7 p.m., also at Tamarack, hear stories of adventure, magic, intrigue, superstition and much more in the auditorium. All ages are welcome.
From 8 to 9:30 a.m. Sunday, April 21, participants will gather for another morning of bird watching at Glade Creek Grist Mill in Babcock State Park in Clifftop.
From 10 a.m. to noon, a 2.5-mile round-trip walk will be taken along Brush Creek, starting at the nature center at Pipestem Resort State Park, to view beautiful waterfalls and blooms.
A Rails and Redbuds Stroll will be from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Hawks Nest Rail Trailhead in Ansted. This is a 1.5-mile walk.
From 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., a 1.1-mile hike will be taken from the park office at Little Beaver State Park along the water’s edge.
For more information, call 304-574-2115 or visit http://www.nps.gov/neri/planyourvisit/wildflower-weekend.htm.
— E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org