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Contact: MaryEllen Snyder, 724-329-8131
On June 7th, the American Hiking Society and the National Park Service will celebrate National Trails Day by encouraging visitors to spend a day hiking in National Parks. The five Western PA National Parks have over 31 miles of maintained hiking trails. The Park's trails provide a variety of opportunities for exercise, bird watching, wildlife viewing and learning about the ecosystems of Western PA. The Visitor Centers provide bird and wildflower lists to use to identify flowers and birds while hiking on the trails. Let National Trails Day be the kick-off for a summer of adventure when you discover a new trail in one of the Western PA National Parks.
This summer visitors to the five National Parks in Western PA Parks will be able to hike on trails as well as attend daily programs presented by Park Rangers and Park Volunteers, watch Historic Weapons Demonstrations, and participate in a variety of special events scheduled throughout the summer in each of the five National Parks. If you love the outdoors, enjoy nature and want to learn more about American History, the National Parks of Western PA will soon become your favorite place to spend an afternoon, a weekend or a week.
At Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville PA each day at 1:00 p.m. the "Story of Flight 93" is presented by Park Rangers at the Memorial Plaza. This half hour programs provide a general introduction to the events, actions, and people related to the story of Flight 93 and Flight 93 National Memorial. After the program visitors will want to walk along the ½ mile long walkway with a long sloping black wall that marks the northern edge of the larger crash site and debris field. Benches offer places of rest and contemplation. Visitors can explore the architect's intent for the memorial through the cell phone tour stops found along the walkway. The walkway leads to the Wall of Names, forty inscribed white marble panels, which honor the passengers and crew. The black granite walkway marks a portion of the flight path. The wildflowers growing near the Memorial Plaza at Flight 93 National Memorial are breathtaking. For more information on programs at Flight 93 National Memorial visit www.nps.gov/flni.
As part of the 125th Anniversary Commemoration of the Great Johnstown Flood, beginning this Saturday, June 7th, Park Rangers will be offering the "Path of the Flood Hike." Reservations are required, though, as there is limited space for this seven to eight mile hike.For more information on this event and others planned hikes and tours visit www.nps.gov/jofl or call 814-495-4643. Ranger guided hikes and tours will be offered throughout the summer. Johnstown Flood National Memorial also has a half mile Nature Trail that begins near the ruins of the dam that provide an opportunity for exercise while learning about the natural history of the area. The lake bed now supports a variety of plant, tree and shrub species on both sides of the meandering South Fork of the Little Conemaugh River. Birds, butterflies and insects thrive on the abundant flower and fruit sources, and an occasional deer can be seen grazing.
In addition to the Flood Memorial, there are many other hiking opportunities in the Western PA parks. Located in the heart of the Laurel Highlands in Farmington, Fort Necessity National Battlefield is rich in scenic beauty and tangible history. This year marks the 260th anniversary of the Battle and the staff have new programs planned. While visiting Fort Necessity be sure to tour the Park's new temporary exhibit on loan from the Seneca Nation entitled "The Seneca and the French and Indian War" on display in the Park Visitor Center. Visitors can take part in a self-guided tour of Braddock's Road Trace. Sections of the trace are within in the Battlefield boundaries and visitors can pick up a Braddock's Road Trace guide at the Visitor Center and follow the historic steps of General Braddock and his troops. There are signs along the trace to guide hikers on the historic path. For more information, call 724-329-5811 or visit www.nps.gov/fone.
Additional events will be conducted at Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site. Join a Park Ranger for a hike of the Hollidaysburg Canal Basin, on Sunday, June 22. The hike will be a 2-mile stroll of the historic district of Hollidaysburg. The tour will focus on the Hollidaysburg connection to the Mainline Canal and on the relationship between the canal and the Allegheny Portage Railroad. On June 29 join a park ranger on a nearly five mile round trip walk to the Staple Bend Tunnel. The Park Ranger will explain the history of the Staple Bend Tunnel which was the first railroad tunnel in America. For more information on these events visit www.nps.gov/alpo or call 814-886-6150.
While visiting your National Parks in Western PA, you can hike on over ten miles of trails at Friendship Hill National Historic Site and tour the home of Albert Gallatin at Friendship Hill located in Point Marion. The restored 23 room mansion and landscaped grounds are perfect for a walk with your family and/or your dog. With National Recreation Trail designation Friendship Hill NHS has over ten miles of hiking trails, including maintained paths to Sophia's Pond and a trail along the Monongahela River with great opportunities for bird watching and viewing wildflowers, it's the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. For more information, you can visitwww.nps/gov/frhi or call 724-725-9190.
About the National Parks in Western PA: To obtain driving directions, fee information andobtain a listing of the special events presented at the five National Parks located in Western PA visit thepark websites, or Facebook. You may also email the Western PA Parks as at e-mail us, or write to: Superintendent, Fort Necessity NB, One Washington Parkway, Farmington PA 15437, attention Public Information Officer.