PROVIDENCE - The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is teaming up with partners to offer guided hiking tours this weekend as part of National Trails Day. The tours are eligible activities for the Department's annual Great Outdoors Pursuit. Now in its ninth season, the annual Great Outdoors Pursuit invites families to participate in a broad range of outdoor activities throughout the summer season and earn rewards along the way.
Saturday, June 3:
10:00 a.m.: Browning Woods Trail, South Kingstown. One to three-mile hike through a pine and oak forested area with amazing stone walls. Kids and leashed dogs welcome. The hike is part of the new National Park Rx initiative which healthcare providers in South County have joined to "prescribe" taking walks and spending time in nature for better physical and mental health. Hosted by South Kingstown Land Trust.
10:00 a.m.: Dr. John Champlin Glacier Park Trail, Westerly. One-mile family-friendly hike through glacial ridges and valleys on Kettle Close Trailhead. All ages welcome. The hike is part of the new National Park Rx initiative which healthcare providers in South County have joined to "prescribe" taking walks and spending time in nature for better physical and mental health. Hosted by Westerly Land Trust.
1:00 p.m.: Museum of Work & Culture, 42 South Main Street, Woonsocket. One-mile walking tour along the banks of the Blackstone River and Main Street. Tour guides will explain how the river influenced the birth of the Industrial Revolution and how the mills impacted the environment. Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for students and senior citizens and includes complimentary admission to the Museum. Children under 10 are free with a paid adult admission. Space is limited and reservations are suggested; call 769-9675 to reserve. Hosted by the Museum of Work & Culture.
Organized by the National Hiking Society, National Trails Day is the nation's largest celebration of trails – with events taking place in every state. Nationwide, more than 168,000 people participated in National Trails Day events in 2016.
The Great Outdoors Pursuit challenges families to visit state parks and other outdoor areas throughout the summer and participate in activities, ranging from birding to golfing and quahogging. Participants register online and self-print a Pursuit Passport. At each event attended, "stamps" are earned for the Passport. Registration is free, and participating children are eligible for prizes. Last year, more than 1,550 people joined the Pursuit. To sign up for the Pursuit, visit www.riparks.com.
Last year, Governor Raimondo convened the Rhode Island Outdoor Recreation Council – with membership from state and local government, industry and community – to develop an actionable vision for promoting and growing outdoor recreation in Rhode Island. The Council released its Final Report last December, highlighting the importance of this recreational network to Rhode Island's economic and cultural vitality. A recent study conducted by the University of Rhode Island found that State-managed parks and bikeways alone contribute $311 million to the economy annually and support over 3,700 jobs and nine million visits.
For a complete list of events and to sign up for the Pursuit, visit www.riparks.com. Follow DEM on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) or Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM for more information on recreational opportunities in Rhode Island as well as other timely updates.