PROVIDENCE - The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is hosting 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 eighth 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.
"We have an amazing selection of hiking trails throughout the state," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "We've put together an exciting lineup of guided tours this weekend, and look forward to families coming out and enjoying a day on the trail with us. What a fantastic way to spend time together, discover new places, and connect with nature."
Saturday, June 4:
10:00 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.: John H. Chafee Nature Preserve at Rome Point, North Kingstown. 230 acres which are home to a variety of wildlife, beachfront, and hiking trails. Located along the banks of Narragansett Bay, the site is a popular, year-round public recreation area - and perfect viewing location for seals hauled out on the rocks just offshore. The guided hikes will depart from the parking area on Boston Neck Road.
1:00 p.m.: Cumberland Monastery, 1464 Diamond Hill Road, Cumberland. Site of a former Cistercian Monastery. It hosts walking trails, playgrounds and gardens. The town's library and the oldest known Veterans memorial in the country also resides on the property. The tour will depart from the Gazebo near the Cumberland Senior Center.
Sunday, June 5:
2:00 p.m.: Browning Mill Pond, Hopkinton (Arcadia Management Area). At over 14,000 acres, Arcadia is the state's largest recreational area, offering many recreational opportunities, including hiking, fishing, hunting, boating, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The guided hike will depart from the parking area at Tefft Hill Road and Arcadia Road.
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 176,000 people participated in National Trails Day events in 2015.
The Great Outdoors Pursuit challenges families to visit state parks and other outdoor areas throughout the summer and participate in activities, ranging from canoeing and hiking to archery and camping. 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 1,000 people joined the Pursuit. To sign up for the Pursuit, visit www.riparks.com.
This year, Governor Gina M. Raimondo established the Rhode Island Outdoor Recreation Council in an effort to promote growth of the local outdoor recreation economy. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, this sector generates $2.4 billion in consumer spending and supports 24,000 jobs in Rhode Island.
For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow DEM on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) or Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM for timely updates.