GRAFTON, W.Va. – On New Year Day, officials at Tygart Lake State Park stated that the West Virginia State Parks First Day Hikes is a state parks tradition every year.
Not even the rain could keep hikers away from the trails in the state parks on this first day of the new year. Also, officials said the goal is to get people out of the house, becoming more active, getting the new year started on the right foot. With a new year that means new opportunities to travel and explore the Mountain State and all its natural beauty that state park officials said the parks have plenty to offer.
“We hiked on the School Bus Loop Trail which is on the campground end of the park. It is a two-mile loop. It goes through some of the original farmland and older areas of the park,” said Jacob Jackson, West Virginia State Park Naturalist. “The namesake of it is the school bus, it is an old probably late 30’s early 40’s era bus that was stuck out there and was turned into somebody’s hunting camp, and then the parkland kind of grew up around it, and other it stays. So, it’s kind of become part of the park lure.”
Park officials say the hikes have grown in popularity over the past few years and have started offering incentive patches for the specialty hikes.
“On a day like this, as rainy as it has been you always want to watch out for mud and slides, you always want to be careful with your creek crossings, and make sure you have good footing,” Jackson said. “The thing you want to look out for the most on a day like this is falling in the mud and slipping and sliding and things like that.”
27 people turned out to go on the guided hike of the School Bus Loop Trail with Jackson at Tygart Lake State Park. The next patch hike will be the Spring Day Hike and is usually around Saint Patrick’s Day.