Earth Day Hike


For more than 40 years, people around the globe have dedicated one day out of the calendar to honor the earth and recommit themselves to preserving and restoring its health and natural beauty. On April 22, the staff at Lake James State Park will observe Earth Day with two very special hikes at the Paddy’s Creek Area.

Park visitors will have their choice of participating in the grand opening of the newest section of the Over mountain Victory Trail or getting a tour and update on the progress being made on the Holly Discovery Trail.

The 1-mile link in the OVT connects to the existing stretch that runs along Paddy’s Creek, doubling the distance of this historic trail through Lake James State Park. The section is part of a nearly 330-mile route passing through Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina, that traces the footsteps of Colonial mountain men as they pursued a British-led militia across the South until the two forces finally met at the Battle of Kings Mountain on Oct. 7, 1780. The American victory over the loyalists was a pivotal point in the Revolutionary War and put the fledgling country on the path to independence.

Now part of the National Trails System, the Overmountain Victory Trail is administered by the National Park Service and many state and local partners. The 2-mile stretch passing through Lake James State Park will eventually be linked with others to complete the 330-mile national historic trail, as designated by the U.S. Congress in 1980. A formal dedication ceremony will take place later this year.

At the same time, park staff will be showing off the progress being made on the Holly Discovery Trail; a first-of- its-kind interpretive nature experience for the N.C. parks system. The .75-mile loop, formerly known as the Paddy’s Creek Loop Trail, will host 18 activity stations for young naturalists and explorers to expand their appreciation of the outdoors.

Among the many hands-on experiences will be a “fairy house” building station, a wildlife viewing blind and a hidden object treasure hunt. Once completed, the Holly Discovery Trail will represent a self-guided journey through a biologically rich creek bottom habitat that promises to be educational and entertaining for families and school groups.

The hikes will begin at 1 p.m. from the Paddy’s Creek bridge parking lot. The staff asks that folks carpool whenever possible to allow for the limited parking spaces at the trailhead. For more information, call the park office at 828-584-7728.

Hope to see you there!