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Cheaha State Park Introduces Legacy Story Trails During Public Lands Day Festival On September 25

Pulpit Rock at Cheaha State Park by Mike Callahan 

On September 24-26, 2021, Cheaha State Park will host a Public Lands Day Festival featuring a variety of vendors, exhibitors, live music, guided programs, live animals and more. The festival is free to attend for overnight guests or with park admission. The park is located at 19644 Highway 281 in Delta, Alabama.

During the festival on Saturday, September 25, park staff will introduce Cheaha’s Legacy Story Trails – three new environmental education elements within its existing trails system. The Legacy Story Trails include the Shinrin-yoku Trail, the Tim Haney Sensory Trail and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Time Traveler Adventure Quest Trail.

These new trail enhancements feature interpretive signage that offer guests a unique way to learn about nature, cultural heritage and environmental arts. The goal of the new Legacy Story Trails is to foster an appreciation for the value of nature, enjoyment of time outside and the uniqueness of Cheaha State Park. Each of the new trail enhancements is suitable for visitors of all ages.

LEGACY STORY TRAIL DESCRIPTIONS

The Shinrin-yoku Trail is a new element of the Mountain Laurel Trail and offers guests a mindful experience that celebrates the power of nature through interactions with water patterns, meditation and observing the colors and textures of the forest. This story trail incorporates the ancient practice of Shinrin-yoku (Japanese for “taking in the forest”) allowing it to improve mental and physical relaxation and well-being.

The Tim Haney Sensory Trail is a new element of the Leave No Trace Bigfoot Challenge Trail and is dedicated to Tim Haney, who selflessly served Alabama State Parks for 44 years before his well-deserved retirement in 2021. As Tim inspired thousands of State Parks staff through his years of service, this trail element aims to inspire park guests to open their senses and explore the uniqueness of the Cheaha State Park landscape.

The CCC Time Traveler Adventure Quest Trail is a driving trail that incorporates story elements at some of Cheaha’s most historic locations. This adventure quest offers guests the unique opportunity to learn about the natural history and cultural heritage of Alabama’s oldest state park through a fun, interactive parkwide adventure. At the completion of the quest, guests can decode a secret message left behind by the CCC.

The new Legacy Story Trails at Cheaha State Park were made possible through a generous grant from Legacy, Partners in Environmental Education. Legacy was created in 1992 to provide quality, fact-based environmental education materials to the citizens of Alabama. Today, the organization brings together state and federal agencies, businesses, environmental groups, associations and citizens to provide comprehensive environmental education programs without duplicating efforts of other organizations. Learn more about Legacy at legacyenved.org.

QUOTES FROM CHEAHA STATE PARK STAFF

“As a park manager and educator, it is an honor, a calling and a delight to provide optimum and unique outdoor educational experiences for park guests. We hope every guest makes a heart-to-park connection and generations of visitors enjoy these trails. Connecting our guests to nature, encouraging environmental literacy, supporting conservation and inspiring wellness through outdoor recreation is our mission. As E.O. Wilson said, ‘Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction.’ We are thankful for this funding support from Legacy.” - Renee Simmons Raney, Central District Superintendent and State Parks Education Coordinator

“Cheaha State Park is such a unique treasure rich in natural resources and cultural heritage. We are very grateful to Legacy for making these new trail enhancements possible, and giving us the opportunity to provide our guests with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the wonders that make this ‘Island in the Sky’ so precious. I have no doubt that the Shinrin-yoku Trail, the Tim Haney Sensory Trail and the CCC Time Traveler Adventure Quest Trail will continue to enrich park visitors of all ages for years to come.” - Scottie Jackson, Central District Naturalist

“Cheaha has a rich legacy in breathtaking scenic views, conservation and connecting guests with the wonder of the natural world. Through this generous grant from Legacy we can provide these trail enhancements. Guests will have an opportunity to slow down and savor Cheaha’s enchanted forests on the forest bathing trail, embrace all their senses on the sensory trail, and walk in the footsteps of the young CCC men along the time traveling driving trail.” - Mandy Pearson, Cheaha State Park Naturalist

GUIDED HIKE SCHEDULE FOR SEPTEMBER 25

Tim Haney Legacy Sensory Hike
Join Mirandi Watson from Girls Who Hike Alabama for the first guided sensory hike at Cheaha State Park. In this fast-paced world, it is easy to lose track of time and forget to ponder. This hike is about slowing down and using all five of your senses to explore the natural world around you.
Time: 11 a.m. to 12 noon
Location: Leave No Trace Bigfoot Challenge Trail (located near Cheaha’s Bunker Tower)
Cost: Free for overnight guests or with park admission

Shinrin-yoku Hike
Forest immersion and ecotherapy with relaxation prompts make this mindful experience a celebration of the power of nature. This five senses experience nurtures heart-centered relationships between you and the natural world. Research has shown that spending time in nature reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, improves mood and increases mental focus and energy.
Time: 1 p.m. to 1:20 p.m.
Location: Mountain Laurel Trail on Chalet Road
Cost: Free for overnight guests or with park admission

CCC Legacy Time Traveler Adventure Quest
Step back in time and learn about the CCC and the development of Cheaha State Park through a fun, educational parkwide adventure. Follow the secret clues on each trail exhibit panel to learn about the natural history and cultural heritage of Alabama’s oldest state park. Adventure Quest answer sheets are available in the Mountain Store so you can record the letters you discover at each station. At the end of your quest decode the secret message left behind by the CCC.
Time: 2 p.m. to 2:20 p.m.
Location: Mountain Store
Cost: Free for overnight guests or with park admission

About Cheaha State Park
Nestled in the Appalachian foothills, Cheaha State Park is located in northern Clay and southwestern Cleburne counties. Cheaha is Alabama's oldest continuously operating state park and includes the state’s highest elevation, Cheaha Mountain (more than 2,400 feet above sea level). Park facilities include a lodge, restaurant, camp store, campsites, fishing and swimming lake, hiking and mountain biking trails, a Native American relic museum and the Pinhoti Mineral and Gem Mining Company. Learn more at alapark.com/parks/cheaha-state-park.

About Alabama’s State Parks System
Alabama State Parks is a division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The division maintains 21 parks encompassing approximately 48,000 acres of land and water. These parks rely on visitor fees and the support of other partners like local communities to fund the majority of their operations. Learn more at alapark.com. Partners Pay the Way!

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