COLUMBIA — The Columbia Parks and Recreation Department will observe National Trails Day on Saturday with a morning of events that encourage people to go outdoors and explore their natural surroundings.
The free rain-or-shine celebration will include a 5-kilometer run/walk and a 10-kilometer bicycle ride at the Stadium Boulevard entrance to the MKT trail at 800 S. Stadium Blvd. A Trailside Nature Expo will be held at the Forum Nature Area at 2701 Forum Blvd. The exposition will feature educational displays from community outdoor organizations such as the Columbia Audubon Society, the Missouri Department of Conservation and the local chapter of the National Speleological Society, an organization dedicated to studying caves.
Brett O’Brien, park natural resource supervisor for the Parks and Recreation Department, said that the outdoor events are a unique learning experience for residents of all ages.
“Instead of just talking, a classroom kind of thing, you’re out in the open air and sunshine,” O’Brien said.
National Trails Day was founded 16 years ago by the American Hiking Society and celebrates “human-powered recreation,” said Ivan Levin, trail programs manager for the American Hiking Society.
“This is a great opportunity for people to get outdoors and take a step back from the daily routine of life ... to really have no worries but putting one foot in front of the other,” Levin said.
Registration for the run/walk and bike ride will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Stadium Boulevard trail entrance. Both the trail events and the nature expo will begin at 9 a.m. The expo ends at noon, and the trail events end when the last participants finish. For more information, call Columbia Parks and Recreation at 874-7460 or go to GoColumbiaMo.com.