TRACK trails for kids are spreading east.
The state parks system opened its 17th, 18th and 19th TRACK trails last week at Eno River, Lumber River and Singletary Lake state parks. The goal is to open at least 30 within the next few years.
The TRACK trails and the Kids in Parks program were launched in 2009 by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. Their mission is to lure young children outdoors with the promise of adventure on self-guided hikes with parents and other adults. The trails are easy and short with colorful signs and brochures. The program also has an online component, where children can log their adventures and earn prizes.
The idea was a natural fit for state parks, and most western parks quickly adapted short trails or portions of longer trails as TRACK trails. The program has expanded to seven states and the 100th TRACK trail opens this month on the Blue Ridge Parkway where it all began.
Importantly, the Kids in Parks Website also prepares kids for a lifetime of hiking, with tips on planning for a hike, dressing properly, packing the necessities and choosing the right trail. All the information on the program is here.