Professor-Led Hikes Planned for Dalton State Trails
September 13, 2012
A trio of professor-led hikes featuring seasonal flora and fauna have been planned for autumn on the Dalton State College trail system.
Dr. John Lugthart, Professor of Biology, will lead an introductory hike on the College Creek Trail Saturday, October 6, at 9 am. The trail, just over a mile long, is the middle of the three interconnected trails and portions of it run alongside the stream that meanders through the campus. Dr. Lugthart will introduce hikers to the forest and stream life they will see on the hike.
“The trail has a relatively steep section where it first begins, but then it’s fairly level,” said Dr. Lugthart who characterized it as a “moderately difficult hike.” The entire trail is blazed and there are benches along the way where hikers can rest and enjoy the scenery.
Dr. Lugthart has long been active in environmental causes on campus and in the community and helped coordinate the efforts of the many Dalton State students, faculty, and staff members who constructed the hiking trails over the last four years.
South-bound migratory birds will be featured in an October 13 morning hike on the mile-long Cascade Trail, the northern-most of the three, led by Dr. David DesRochers, Assistant Professor of Biology. Dr. DesRochers has particular interest in bird conservation and ecology.
“One of my primary goals in teaching is to connect folks to the natural world because in this technologically advanced age, we are growing more disconnected from the nature,” says Dr. DesRochers. “As a result, I am very interested in getting people to think critically about the environment and how our actions can influence the world around us - for better or for worse.”
A fall foliage hike on the Big Rock Trail led by Gretchen Lugthart, part-time instructor of biology, will be Saturday, November 3 at 9 am. She will discuss the rich diversity of the southern Appalachian forest and will point out trees, shrubs, and other plants as the trail climbs to the top of the first ridge behind campus.
“This protected area has an amazing number of plants,” said Ms. Lugthart. “College Creek provides a cove habitat, allowing for moisture-loving species like Tulip Tree and Galax. The fall colors of hardwood species like Red Maple should be great in early November and air temperatures should be perfect for a walk in the woods.”
All hikes begin at 9 am and each will originate at the kiosk for that trail. Big Rock Trail is the southernmost of the three; hikers will meet at the kiosk near the athletic field. College Creek Trail originates on the north side of George Rice Drive across from the Bandy Gym; hikers for the Cascade Trail hike will meet at the kiosk near the service drive by the parking garage on George Rice Drive.
Hikers should dress comfortably with special emphasis placed on comfortable, sturdy shoes, preferably hiking boots, Dr. Lugthart said. For more information, contact Dr. Lugthart at 706-272-2485.