Green Day Hike offers mental health break while social distancing

TYGART LAKE— Despite a chill in the air, and the threat of COVID-19 looming down on the Mountain State, nearly 50 individuals gathered at the Tygart Lake State Park Campgrounds on Saturday, March 14, to venture off on a newly developed trail for the park’s annual Green Day Hike.

The hike was led by Park Naturalist Jacob Jackson, who said that despite the pandemic, he chose to still host the event as a way for people to relax their minds and be free of fear, if only for a short time.

“Being outside is still safe. Exposing yourself to the elements can boost ones immune system. Going for walks is actually recommended during this hectic time,” he shared. “It is actually a really great way to give yourself a mental health break too.”

47 participants, along with four canines, took advantage of the opportunity and joined Jackson for the debut of the new Bus Loop Trail, earning its name by being the first actual trail to complete a loop around areas of park.

According to Jackson, a selfless group of volunteers spearheaded the project, plotting and clearing the path, even purchasing the equipment necessary to get the job done, on their own accord. 

“We would like to extend a special thanks to Thad Curry, Scott Creak and Gabe Lambert for all their hard work. It was a great group effort and something that they put a lot of time into. Their work is deeply appreciated,” Jackson expressed.

Hikers navigated their way along the two-mile path, tackling the hilly terrain and exploring the new territory, as signs of spring could be seen budding from the earth’s surface along the way.

Jackson hopes that as the weather warms up more people tend to their mental health and utilize not only the new trail but all that Tygart Lake State Park has to offer for a quick escape from everyday life right here in our own backyards.

At the adventure’s conclusion, he presented each of the attendees with a commemorative Green Day Hike patch.

The event was a hit among those that took part with hikers commenting that it was a beautiful hike and a wonderful day.

Jackson revealed the he plans to host his next hike, the WonderFall Hike, this coming autumn.

Please keep in mind that while businesses and schools throughout the state are shutting down in preparation of COVID-19, West Virginia State Parks are remaining open to allow people to get out into nature, while maintaining the recommended separation from others.

According to Acting West Virginia State Parks Chief Bad Reed, the park system is an outlet for those who have been isolated from almost every other event outside of their home.

For additional questions regarding the operation of Tygart Lake State Park, please call 304-265-6144.


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