Celebrate Trails Day: April 2021

Hurleyville History Hike is April 24
by Win Hadley
HURLEYVILLE – The Rails to Trails Conservancy has announced that the second annual Celebrate Trails Day will be held nationwide on Saturday, April 24. The organization began the special day back in 2013 as Opening Day for Trails, and changed the name last year.
The celebration is intended to encourage people all across the country to get outside and enjoy the nation’s exceptional trails and trail systems.
The Conservancy’s 2020 event was a virtual one, due to the pandemic. The national broadcast featured Dr. Jim Sallis, distinguished professor emeritus of family medicine and public health at the University of California, San Diego, and an RTC board member, discussing the importance of trails for enabling people to be active in the outdoors, manage stress and be more physically resilient to COVID-19.
Last year’s unique event also included Brandi Horton, RTC vice president of communications, who reminded everyone that as we seek to be active outside, it’s vitally important that we all practice self-care, adhere to expert guidelines on how to safely use trails and parks, which will also help protect them against forced closures due to overcrowding, and practice proper trail etiquette. Of course, some of the guidelines put in place last year have been eased, but others remain in effect.
This year, Celebrate Trails Day will be commemorated locally for the first time, with Sullivan County Historian John Conway leading another of his heralded Hurleyville History Hikes along the westbound leg of the Milk Train Trail at 2 p.m.
“The History Hikes we do are by design more of a saunter,” Mr. Conway says. “The idea is to get outside, enjoy the incredible scenery, and experience the majestic beauty nature has bestowed on our area, so we want everyone to be able to participate, regardless of stamina or mobility issues. And they can learn some local history at the same time.”
Mr. Conway says the historical topics covered on the hike—make that saunter—will include the impact of the railroad on the farms and resorts of the Hurleyville area, the native American Lenape tribe, their language and their culture, the tanning industry, and more.
“Both farming and the tourism industry in Sullivan County owe much to the railroad,” Mr. Conway says. “And in fact, Hurleyville was really created with the arrival of the Midland Railroad in the 1870s. There wasn’t much here prior to that. It is pretty cool that the thing that established the community in the first place has been reincarnated as a trail that is the linchpin of the revitalization of the community today.”
Mr. Conway says that after the long, exceptionally grey winter season, the Hurleyville History Hike presents an opportunity for everyone to improve their mood, boost their energy level, and exercise their mind as well as their body.
“We always say that regular use of the Milk Train Trail is a way to a happier, healthier life,” he says. “The Rails to Trails Conservancy’s Celebrate Trails Day is the perfect chance for people to find out for themselves what we’re talking about.”
The Hurleyville History Hike will be conducted under strict COVID guidelines, meaning masks WILL be required and social distancing will be observed. In the event of inclement weather, the hike will likely be postponed. Any final determination will be announced on Mr. Conway’s Sullivan Retrospect Facebook page.