By Matt de Simone
A TRACK Trail Partnership memorandum of understanding (MOU) was approved by the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors during the August meeting last Tuesday in Daleville. County Parks & Rec Director Mandy Adkins presented the board with the scope of a proposed TRACK Trail project for Cherry Blossom Trail at Greenfield.
The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation program, Kids in Parks, is a network of family-friendly outdoor adventures dedicated to getting families outside. The Kids in Parks program began in 2008 with the vision to improve the health of children and the health of parks by making existing trails more attractive and fun for novice users. The Kids in Parks program offers a network of family-friendly outdoor adventures called TRACK Trails. Each TRACK Trail features self-guided brochures and signs that turn your visit into a fun and exciting outdoor experience. Best of all, children can earn prizes for tracking their adventures.
The trail will feature an informational sign at the trailhead designed specifically for the Cherry Blossom Trail. Under the sign will be four different brochures children can use while walking on the trail. This trail will be a part of a national network of trails on the Kids in Parks website (kidsinparks.com). Every kid who registers their adventure on a TRACK Trail will receive prizes from the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.
“We are very fortunate to be given this opportunity,” Adkins said during her presentation. “We are responsible for the maintenance of the sign. We’re responsible for maintaining the trail, which we already do. And there’s a very limited cost once we use up the brochures and the initial grant, we’ll be responsible for replenishing (the brochures) but that’s a pretty nominal fee, depending how quickly they go.”
The foundation describes these trails as a network of hiking, biking, paddling and disc golf trails outfitted with free activity guides for children and families. The mission behind these TRACK Trails is to encourage kids to be physically active and help them build meaningful connections with nature. In turn, these goals help inspire the next generation of stewards, who will care for all public lands, including the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Through a grant courtesy of Carilion Clinic and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, Botetourt County has a unique opportunity to create a TRACK Trail at the Cherry Blossom Trail. Through this grant (valued at approximately $6,500) Botetourt County will receive the following:
- A TRACK Trails trailhead kiosk/sign frame, which is custom designed specific to the Cherry Blossom Trail.
- Four brochure holders
- Four sets of standard self-guided brochures (2,000 copies of each)
- A trail page on the Kids in Parks website
- Prizes disseminated to the Cherry Blossom TRACK Trail registrants.
- Annual data reports regarding the use of the Cherry Blossom TRACK Trail users.
Botetourt County Parks and Recreation will be responsible for:
- Constructing and installing the TRACK Trail trailhead kiosk
- Maintaining the appearance of the TRACK Trail trailhead
- Purchasing and restocking the brochures as needed
- Maintaining the TRACK Trail
- Coordinating a grand opening celebration
For more information about the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, visit www.brpfoundation.org. To learn more about Botetourt County Parks & Recreation and its programs, visit www.botetourtva.gov/162/Parks-Recreation.