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National Trails Day 2023

Updated: Jun 12, 2023


As humans, we have created a complex system of needing currency to sustain our very existence. We can’t eat without money, and we can’t live in our homes without it. So, most of us need to have a job in order to gain this thing we call money – it’s just part of our lives. But, when we are not working, we have the option to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of our overly connected and excruciatingly busy lives to get out into nature.


The data from research on how beneficial getting out into nature is for our mental and physical health, as well as extending the longevity of our lives, is undeniable. According to the Centers for Disease Control and WebMD, being in nature helps lower anxiety, helps you feel better about yourself, and reduces stress, cortisol levels, muscle tension, and heart rate. It also helps you sleep better! “The physiological response to being outside in nature is real, and it's measurable,” says Michelle Kondo, a research social scientist with the USDA Forest Service's Northern Research Station. “There are many physical and psychological benefits of nature that scientists have observed, which can better help us understand how nature supports wellness in the body, mind and community.” (fs.usda.gov)


What is even more amazing than how beneficial being outdoors is for humans is the fact that we live in an area of the vast world that has such beautiful, well protected, and accessible places for us to get out into nature. The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy has over 30 nature preserves in Chautauqua County with more than nine of those with dedicated trails to traverse you and your loved ones around. And in case you didn’t already know, there is actually a National Trails Day! It’s a day where being outside and hiking on trails is celebrated. What day is this? Well, I’m glad you asked! National Trails Day is the first Saturday in June, making it June 3rd this year. So, grab your binoculars if you like birding, grab your kids and doggies and their leashes (hopefully you’re not leashing your kids), and your reusable water bottles, and get out on those trails!


If you are interested in something a little more challenging, Infinity Visual & Performing Arts (a nonprofit in Jamestown, NY) is currently offering an Ultimate Adventure Challenge, which includes visiting numerous local trails around the area, among other sites. You can find all the details at https://infinityperformingarts.org/adventurechallenge. The challenge runs from May 1st until November 16th and has a small fee to participate. Three of our nature preserves are highlighted in the challenge: the Bentley Nature Preserve, the Dobbins Woods Preserve, and the Solomon Family Nature Preserve. Please also check out our website at https://chautauquawatershed.org/preserves, which has great interactive maps, directions, and details about these and other preserves of ours.


So what are you waiting for? Put on some sunblock, grab your family and friends, and get on out there!


by Bethany O'Hagan, Land Specialist for the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy

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