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Junior Ranger program offered at Mistletoe State Park

Junior Ranger events, First Day Hike coming up

Posted: December 27, 2015 - 12:02am
Mistletoe State Park volunteer Jerry Smith shows how to start a campfire at a previous Junior Ranger program. The park is hosting a new Junior Ranger program on Tuesday.    Special
Special
Mistletoe State Park volunteer Jerry Smith shows how to start a campfire at a previous Junior Ranger program. The park is hosting a new Junior Ranger program on Tuesday.

There are just a few spots – and a few days – left to sign up for Mistletoe State Park’s Junior Ranger Orienteering and Geo-caching program.

Set for Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., the program is designed for children ages 8-14.

“This is the first time we’ve offered this as a Junior Ranger Program,” said Brenda Bettross, program assistant at the park. “We are doing a Junior Ranger program during the Christmas break because some parents suggested it during a school program. I’m sure we will be offering it again.”

The cost of the program, which will introduce youngsters to navigational skills including map reading and compassing, is $20. Lunch is not included and preregistration is required by calling the park office at (706) 541-0321.

“Children will need to wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water,” said Bettross.

In addition to the Junior Ranger program, the park will host several other activities in the coming weeks. Among them is First Day Hikes.

“The First Day Hikes is a nationally recognized program,” explained Bettross. “First Day Hikes are part of a nationwide initiative led by America’s State Parks to encourage people to get outdoors. On New Year’s Day, hundreds of free, guided hikes will be organized in all 50 states. Kids and adults all across America will be participating in First Day Hikes, getting their hearts pumping and enjoying the beauty of a state park.”

An estimated 28,000 people hiked more than 66,000 miles to ring in 2015. This year’s First Day Hike will begin at 11 a.m. New Year’s Day. The ranger-led hike will be on Cliatt Creek Trail.

Also in January is the Dulcimer Jam. On Jan. 16 and 17, musicians will play dulcimers, fiddles, banjoes, basses and harmonicas. Guests can sit back and enjoy the music or join in with an instrument of their own. Parking is $5. For more information, call (706) 541-2146.

Another Junior Ranger program on outdoor fire will be held on Jan. 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for children ages 7-12.

“The Columbia County Fire Department and wildfire-trained rangers will share the difference between what a firefighter does and what a wildlife ranger does,” said Bettross. “Children will build a fire without a match, watch a wildfire demo, create their own fire starters and fire safety bandana.”

Participants will roast hot dogs and marshmallows for lunch. The cost is $25. Preregistration is required. To register, call (706) 541-0321.

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