EWING, Va. — June will be busy at Wilderness Road State Park, with a Martin’s Station Militia Muster, Junior Pioneers and a National Trails Day trick your stick highlighting a full slate of upcoming programs and events. Whether you’re a history buff, love nature, or are simply looking for fun entertainment, Wilderness Road State Park has something for everyone.
Militia Muster: Ani yun wi ya, “The Principle People.” The Cherokee were a strong and proud people. Travel to the Native Camp west of Martin’s Station and visit a Cherokee encampment. Delve into 18th century native culture and customs. Meet a traditional Cherokee elder, and listen as she tells the story of her people, then watch her skillful hands and help her create unique corn-shuck dolls. Program presentations will be conducted at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on June 11 and 12.
Special Evening Program, War and Warriors. The presence of war was an ever growing factor in the early years of westward migration. Watch as the residents of Martin’s Station offer a better understanding of the weapons, skills, and techniques used by Native Warriors in their struggle against settlers moving into Kentucky. The program begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Native Camp on June 18.
Junior Pioneers, June 20 – 24. This is a fun, educational program for kids. Children will experience the life of their frontier forefathers during this week long camp. Each day presents a whole new experience with activities such as candle-making, dyeing cloth, and planting an 18th century garden. On the final day, participants will be awarded their certificate and proclaimed official Wilderness Road State Park Junior Pioneers. Program is for children ages 6-12. Pre-registration is required.
Butterfly Hike, June 10. Join our ranger on a backyard excursion in search of nature’s flying flowers, the beautiful butterflies. Participate in a catch and release for an up close and personal view of these painted insects, while trying to identify each species. The program begins at 4 p.m.
Get Outdoors Challenge, June 11. In recognition of National Get Outdoors Day, come and enjoy a fun, entertaining and educational day at the park and take our Outdoors Challenge for a chance to win prizes. Participants will be given tasks to complete that will take them through all areas of the park. The program runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
What’s Bugging You?, June 12. Come to the Nature Center and uncover the wild, weird and wonderful world of insects. Learn fun facts about the benefits of some of the more pesky bugs in our ecosystem. The program begins at 2 p.m.; What’s in your Watershed? – The Indian Creek runs through Wilderness Road State Park. But how can something in Indian Creek influence the mighty Mississippi? Learn how watersheds work, and why it’s important to be careful what goes into them. The fun begins at 4 p.m.
Backyard Birdwatching, June 17. Enjoy a ranger-led hike in search of the area’s most recognizeable backyard birds. Listen for their calls, note their distinctive color and markings and see if you can guess the bird’s identity. A checklist will be provided so participants can see how many native birds they encounter along the way. The program begins at 4 p.m.
Tales for Tots, June 18. Calling all children looking for something fun and educational! Listen closely as our ranger leads children on a nature adventure through story. Stick around after the tale for some fun crafts. The fun begins at 10 a.m.; Build your own Birdhouse – Come over to the Nature Center and build a birdhouse from one of our designs. Decorate it for a one of a kind look! Find out the best ways to attract our feathered friends. Birdhouse kits will be available for a small fee. The fun begins at 2 p.m.
Get Started on Geocaching, June 19. Interested in geocaching but don’t know how to get started? Or do you just want an adventure in the woods? Well this is the program for you! Utilize GPS units to find hidden caches in the woods while learning about our native wildlife. This program is perfect for families. The program begins at 3 p.m.
Tree ID Hike June 24. Tag along with our interpreter for a fun and educational walk on Indian Ridge Trail and learn about the trees growing there. How many can you identify? The program begins at 4 p.m.
Butterfly Hike, June 25. Join our ranger on a backyard excursion in search of nature’s flying flowers, the beautiful butterflies. Participate in a catch and release for an up close and personal view of these painted insects, while trying to identify each species. The fun begins at 10 a.m.; Ride through Nature – Join our ranger and bike through nature along the Wilderness Road Trail. What animals or birds lurk behind the trees along the trail? The fun begins at 1 p.m.; Great American Campout – In recognition of the national Great American Campout, journey to the park for a fun and educational evening at the group camping area. Camping is a great way to get outdoors and experience nature. This program will give you all the camping 101 basics you need for a safe night of camping. Also enjoy a fire-starting program, a sweet treat and a ranger led owl prowl. The program begins at 7 p.m.
Incredible Edibles, Foraging for Food, June 26. This is an exciting ranger-led hike in search of edible plants. Many of our native plants can be eaten or used for medicinal purposes. Discover which plants are surprisingly tasty and nutritious and which ones to avoid. The program begins at 2 p.m.; Recycling Rocks! – Stop by the Nature Center and discover why recycling is so important while creating fun up-cycling crafts that you can take home. The program begins at 4 p.m.
Life at Martin’s Station (throughout June). Historic Martin’s Station will bring the 18th century Virginia frontier to life with daily interpretation and demonstrations. Join the men and women of Martin’s Station as they demonstrate blacksmithing, gunsmithing, hide-tanning, 18th century gardening, open hearth cooking and other activities you may have witnessed while traveling the Wilderness Road in 1775. The fort is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Monday (closed on Tuesdays).
In addition to these programs, the park offers an ADA handicap accessible playground, a nature playscape, picnic shelters, hiking trails and more. The new nature center is open on weekends and includes interactive and educational activities. See and touch the hides and skulls of several of the area’s native wildlife and more. The park’s visitor center houses guest information, a gift shop, frontier museum and a state-of-the-art theatre that showcases the film, Wilderness Road: Spirit of a Nation.
For more information, contact the park office at 276-445-3065 or visit the park’s official website at www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/wilderness-road.shtml. You can also visit the Friends of Wilderness Road State Park official website: www.friendsofwildernessroad.org or Martin’s Station’s website at www.historicmartinsstation.com.