When the discounts and coupons have expired and cyber thrill is gone, there’s still one shopping experience to consider – discovering a new activity or hobby. “Bird watching, hiking, disc golf, surveying for eagles or owls and other outdoor (and indoor) activities are organized and offered at many of West Virginia’s state parks in wintry months,” said Sissie Summers with the state’s park system. The state park system is known for summer recreation and interpretative programs, but many aren’t familiar with activities and programs featured year-round. “Most activities are free of charge to attend, geared toward family and friend participation, and more likely than not topics that create new interests or outdoor interests,” Summers said.
Cacapon Resort State Park, in Morgan County near Berkeley Springs is a great example of activities available at the park. The December schedule includes:
Saturday, Dec. 8
- A Late Fall Discovery Walk is planned at 10 a.m. Renee Fincham, naturalist, will meet participants at the Cacapon Nature Center. The walk will explore the natural wonders of the Cabin Loop Trail and discover how some critters are preparing for winter. This trail is approximately one mile with a few easy hills and the walk lasts about one hour.
- Holiday Inspired Craft: Crafts are popular with park visitors. A holiday inspired craft hour is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. at the Nature Center. The craft is a Christmas Tree Trinket Box or a Wooden Sleigh Ornament.
- CCC Camp Morgan helped to construct many of the structures at Cacapon. “Back Through Time” is a program about the Civilian Conservation Corp and their impact on Cacapon. This will be an easy one-mile walk through the park beginning at 3:30 p.m. and departs from the nature center.
Saturday, Dec. 15
- Morning Walk – Get Outdoors! Meet the naturalist at the Nature Center and go explore the natural and historic landscape. The trail is approximately one-and-a-half miles with a few hills. The hike will last about one hour and begins at 10 a.m.
- The CCC boys left a legacy that is told in a documentary film. In West Virginia that legacy remains in the forests they planted and parks they helped to build. Meet the naturalist at the Nature Center at 1p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 22
- Winter Wonderland Hike begins at 10 a.m. from the nature center. This trail is approximately one-and-a-half miles with a few hills.
- Trimming Nature’s Tree: The activity involves making tree-trimming treats for our feathered friends and then to get outside into the winter’s landscape to decorate the trees with the bounty. The nature craft begins at 1 p.m. at the Nature Center.
Friday, Dec. 28
- Winter Tracking: Where do animals go in the winter and how do they survive? Meet the naturalist at the Nature Center at 10 a.m. to explore how and where to look for critters in the cold. We’ll begin this session by creating some tracks you can take home.
- Dreaming of Snow: Inside every plain piece of paper is a unique snowflake just waiting to take shape — all it requires is a little imagination, a few folds, and a couple of cuts. Snowflake creating will take place in the Nature Center and begins at 1 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 29
- Explore the Laurel Trail: Meet at the Nature Center at 10 a.m. to enjoy the natural landscape of the Laurel Trail. This trail is approximately two miles with a few hills, but is a great trail at Cacapon!
- Look for the “Bear Necessities”: Learn the necessities of a bear’s life at 1:30 p.m. at the Nature Center. View an eyewitness video on all different species of bears and their necessities and learn about bears that you may spy at Cacapon.
Monday, Dec. 31
- New Year’s Eve Celebration: Bring in the 2013 New Year at Cacapon with a bang! Celebrate with music, dancing, and a formal toast to start off a New Year. The festivities begin at 9 p.m. There is an overnight package and the restaurant is open. For pricing and for more information, please call 304-258-1022.
Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013
- First Day Hike: Let New Year’s Day be a perfect opportunity to start 2013 by connecting with nature, engaging in physical activity, and promoting healthy lifestyles all year long. Meet the Naturalist at the Nature Center at 10 a.m. to explore the natural beauty of winter in West Virginia.
Activities and programs are open to the public and without charge unless noted. Fincham’s programs and activities are posted on the park website. To learn more about Cacapon Resort State Park, lodge, cabins, restaurant, and additional activities, visit www.cacaponresort.com.
Logo courtesy West Virginia Division of Natural Resources