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Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s to Open Third TRACK Trail in Partnership with North Carolina State Parks

May 22, 2012. Over the past few years, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s Kids in Parks program has been installing a network of kid friendly hiking trails, called TRACK Trails, on and in communities along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The Kids in Parks program are installing their network of TRACK Trails to help get kids and families “un-plugged”, outdoors and actively engaged in nature, for their health and the health of our parks. Each TRACK Trail provides a series of self-guided, brochure-led adventures designed to turn an ordinary hike into a fun-filled adventure. And, kids who register their TRACK Trail adventures on the Kids in Parks website (www.kidsinparks.com) become members of the program’s Trail TRACKer Team and earn prizes (incentives) designed to make their next outdoor adventure more fun.

The Mount Jefferson State Natural Area TRACK Trail will be located on the Rhododendron Trail that begins at the upper parking lot and climbs gently toward the summit of Mount Jefferson and Luther Rock. The trail is a 1.1-mile long loop trail with two short out-and-back sections leading the way to both peaks.

“We are excited to have partnered with North Carolina State Parks on our third TRACK Trail together,” said Jason Urroz, director of Kids In Parks. “The network of TRACK Trails we have formed within the state parks and other land management agencies in the region are giving kids and families from the area multiple options to get outdoors, unplugged and connected to the resources and special places that make this region so wonderful. From New River State Park, to Grayson Highalnds State Park in Virginia, to W. Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir in Wilkesboro and now at Mount Jefferson’s State Natural Area, the region’s network is one of the strongest networks of TRACK Trails in the program.”

“Mt. Jefferson State Natural Area is excited about adding the Track Trails program to park activities. “

The grand opening celebration of the Mount Jefferson State Natural Area TRACK Trail will be held on May 26th at the trailhead located just above the picnic area in the upper-most parking lot. The ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 2:00pm.

Address to trailhead: 1481 Mt. Jefferson State Park Rd. West Jefferson, NC 28694.

For more information, call 336-246-9653.

About the Kids in Parks program:

The Kids in Parks Initiative is sponsored by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation. Working together with partners throughout the country, their mission is to promote children’s health and the health of our parks by engaging families in outdoor adventures that increase physical activity and foster a meaningful connection to the natural and cultural world.

The Kids in Parks TRACK Trails program provides kids and families with a network of self-guided hiking trails. Every TRACK Trail has a series of brochures designed to turn an ordinary walk in the woods into a fun-filled adventure. Furthermore, for every adventure kids register through the Kids in Parks website, www.kidsinparks.com, they earn Trail TRACKer Gear designed to make their next outdoor adventure more interactive and fun.

About the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation:

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, under a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior, is the primary fundraiser and trusted steward of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Foundation is forever committed to preserving the past, enhancing the present, and safeguarding the future of America’s Favorite Journey®.  We are proud to serve and support this extraordinary environment that connects the spirit of countless people through a twisting ribbon of mountain road. We are a strong defender of the Parkway, funding needed projects that enhance and protect the natural, cultural, historic, and recreational qualities that make the Blue Ridge Parkway an American treasure.

For more information visit www.brpfoundation.org  and www.kidsinparks.com 

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation is a separate, independent, nonprofit Foundation dedicated to improving the health and well-being of North Carolinians. The Foundation’s focus areas include: Health of Vulnerable Populations – improving health outcomes of populations served by safety net organizations; Healthy Active Communities – increasing physical activity and encouraging healthy eating habits; and Community Impact through Nonprofit Excellence – increasing the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations.  BCBSNC Foundation invests programs and services in response to grant requests and proactively creates initiatives or partners with organizations to address specific needs. It also coordinates several Signature Programs, among them, the Be Active Kids® and Healthy Community Institute for Nonprofit Excellence.  More information is available at www.bcbsncfoundation.org.

About Mount Jefferson State Natural Area

Mount Jefferson rises abruptly to more than 1600 feet above the surrounding landscape, providing a landmark for the region. On a clear day, you can see for miles from its peak. Fields, farms, forests and mountains make up the breathtaking scene. The interesting and unusual plant life in the park make it worthy of designation as a national landmark.