SULPHUR — The Chickasaw National Recreation Area is one of 37 national parks recently selected to receive a 2014 Active Trails grant from the National Park Foundation.
Dan Winnings, CNRA spokesperson, said the Active Trails program supports healthy living by getting people out and active in national parks through projects that help restore, protect and/or create land and water trails across the country. Now in its sixth year, the program offers projects which include opportunities like hands-on learning, hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing and volunteering.
“If you enjoy walking or jogging for exercise, the CNRA encourages you to get out and use park trails by participating in the Platt Trail Blazers program,” Winnings said.
The Platt Trail Blazers, which supports the National Park Service’s Healthy Parks Healthy People Challenge, is a partnership between the CNRA, Arbuckle Memorial Hospital, the Chickasaw Nation and the National Park Foundation.
“The program begins at the park Wednesday and continues through Dec. 31,” Winnings said. “The purpose of this program is to promote the use of several park trails which are ideal locations for exercise, as well as the recognized uses of nature study and recreation.”
Upon beginning the Platt Trail Blazers program, participants are entitled to a promotional T-shirt , brochure and activity log sheet.
Winnings said a kick-off event is scheduled for Saturday at the Chickasaw Cultural Center.
“Please come by the National Park Service tent that morning and pick up your Platt Trail Blazers promotional T-shirt,” he said. “The first 75 participants in the program will also receive a certificate from Arbuckle Memorial Hospital which can be exchanged at the hospital for a free blood pressure check and lipid panel.”
Winnings said the Platt Trail Blazers program offers area residents a win-win opportunity through physical exercise that helps develop muscle tone and cardiovascular fitness, as well as the enjoyment of the natural scenery, which can promote overall wellness.
“It lets people make the most of the park and get more out of life,” he said, adding the park offers “trails suitable for the beginner as well as the seasoned hiker.”
Since 2008, the National Park Foundation, which is the official charity of the nation’s national parks, has granted nearly $2.4 million through its Active Trails program. To date, Active Trails has engaged more than 5,900 volunteers and 327 project partners who combined have contributed more than 30,000 hours to help promote, refurbish or build national park trails that were ultimately enjoyed by 331,000 visitors.