Today is National Take A Hike Day! To celebrate this day Vicksburg National Military Park posted a video and information about our little known hiking trail on our Facebook page in hopes that more people will begin using the trail.
This was one of the most fun projects I’ve worked on so far as a CVA, but first let me give you some background. The most heavily used part of our park is the tour road. Its meant for drivers to travel through the battlefield on and be able to see many of the key monuments and battle locations. The tour road is a 16 mile loop, but there are cut throughs at certain points so you don’t have to travel through the entire park if you don’t want to. But, the really cool part about the tour road is that some people don’t drive it. There are many Vicksburg residents who come to the park early in the morning or in the evening when the tour road is closed to vehicular traffic. These people use the tour road for cycling, running, and walking. It is a great resource for those looking to get some exercise and get outside.
While using the tour road for walking is a popular use of the park for locals, many don’t realize they have another option as well! We have a 12 mile (mostly) wooded hiking trail that runs through the park. Without many other nearby hiking options, locals looking to get outside and in the woods could really take advantage of this trail. Additionally, by sticking to the tour road, you’re missing many monuments and markers! There is plenty more history to discover by getting off the road. The trail is called the Al Scheller Boy Scout trail. It weaves in and out of the woods and crosses the tour road at certain sections. It can get a little confusing and the map isn’t always super clear. It would be great to get more people out on the trail, but we need to first remove some of these barriers and there are many ways we can do that.
I saw National Take A Hike Day as an opportunity to begin working on this and at least let people know that this trail exists. I created a video that I hope will not only let people know about the trail, but will also help people feel more comfortable on the trail by showing them some of the basics. I had a blast brainstorming ideas, hiking through a section of the park, and editing the video. I hope it helps to get people out and hiking here and I hope that it is the first of many steps towards making hiking in our park more accessible to the people of Vicksburg!