[Courtesy Mike Brindle, Wilderness Road State Park]
ELYDALE — July features some great programs and events at Wilderness Road State Park, with hikes, nature activities, and historical interpretation among those being offered. Whether you are a history buff, a nature lover, or if you are simply looking for fun and entertainment, Wilderness Road State Park has something for everyone.
Life at Martin’s Station, throughout July – Throughout the month of July, Historic Martin’s Station will bring to life the 18th-century Virginia frontier with daily interpretation and demonstrations. Join the men and women of Martin’s Station as they demonstrate the contemporary trade of blacksmiths, gunsmiths, and hide-tanners, as well as 18th-century gardening, open hearth cooking, and other activities that you may have witnessed while traveling the Wilderness Road in 1775. The fort is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Monday.
Watershed Watch, Saturday, July 1 – This is a classic and exciting hands-on learning experience using a tabletop model of a working watershed. We will examine what a watershed is, how they work, and the effects of point source and non-point source pollution in our watersheds. This fun learning tool will give you a real-life look at how we can preserve our watersheds and water sources for future generations. This program will be conducted twice: once at 10 a.m. and again at 2 p.m.
The American Bison, Sunday, July 2 – The American Bison is one of this country’s most iconic symbols. But did you know that these magnificent beasts once roamed Powell’s Valley—on the very land where Wilderness Road State Park now sits?
In this exciting, all-new program, you will learn about the natural characteristics of bison, as well as the important role they played in our nation’s history. Follow our ranger on a short hike to the park’s bison viewing area to meet and observe North America’s largest land mammal. This program begins at 2 p.m.
Declaration of Independence, Tuesday, July 4 – In late summer and fall of A.D. 1776, the news spread across Virginia’s frontier that on July 4, the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, approved a Declaration of Independence, severing the colonies’ ties to the British Crown. Experience the news of liberty with the men and women of Martin’s Station and discuss how the coming war will affect their lives. Special program presentations will begin at 11 a.m. and again at 3 p.m.
Painting with Nature, Friday, July 7 – Have you ever wondered how ancient artists created their masterpieces? Before the times of modern art supply stores, paint and brushes had to be crafted from materials found in the wild. Let’s rediscover the old methods of painting using grass, leaves, sticks and stones. We may even mix up our own “natural paint” to use. What will your masterpiece look like? The program will be conducted twice, with start times at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Alarm at Martin’s Station, Saturday, July 8 – Attack is imminent. Settle into the fort and prepare yourself for a night of danger as a hostile war party approaches Martin’s Station. Will you stand with Captain Martin in defending hearth and home? The program begins at 8:30 p.m.
The Woman Warrior: Bearing the Burden of a Revolution, July 8 & 9 – At the onset of the Revolutionary War, many backwoods settlements were left unprotected as militias were formed and men marched into battle. In many communities, the women not only became providers, but warriors, who found themselves defending hearth and home against British loyalists and raiders from the Shawnee and Cherokee nations.
Like their male counterparts, women, when called upon, engaged the enemy and protected their families. Journey to Martin’s Station and take up arms with the women of Powell’s Valley as they compete in a special Frontier Women’s Competition on Saturday.
Tutorials for the competition will be held on Saturday at 10 a.m., and the competition will be at 2 p.m. Competition Categories include: Bullet Molding, Rolling Rounds, Firelocks, Tomahawk Throws, Fire Making, 18th Century Medicine, and a Dessert Competition.
Sunday’s programs will feature discussions about women’s roles on the frontier at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. (There will be no competition on Sunday.)
Sunday Cinema: American Eagle, Sunday, July 9 – Grab your popcorn and join us for a special big screen presentation of American Eagle in spectacular Blu-Ray High Definition. Enjoy stunning footage of our country’s most treasured bird of prey, the American bald eagle. This riveting program takes an unprecedented look at this remarkable bird and its surprisingly tough struggle to survive in the wild. The fun begins at 2 p.m. in the Visitor Center theater.
Backyard Bird Watching, Friday, July 14 – Enjoy a ranger-led hike in search of the area’s most recognizable backyard birds. Listen for their calls, note their distinctive color and markings and see if you can guess the bird’s identity. A checklist will be provided so participants can see how many native birds they encounter along the way. This program starts at 10 a.m.
A Shot of Vengeance, Saturday, July 15 – It was once said that artillery lends dignity to what would otherwise be considered an ugly brawl. Observe Captain Hord and his crew as they demonstrate the techniques and skills used to fire artillery, and its proper use on the 18th century battlefield. This special evening program begins at 8 p.m.
Bug Safari, Sunday, July 16 – Bugs are those little critters everyone loves to hate. But they play an important role in our fragile ecosystem. Join our ranger and grab an insect viewer and field guide as we take a stroll into the “bug outback”. There are 353 bugs in Virginia’s Insect Identification Database. How many can we find? Program starts at 2 p.m.
Incredible Edibles: Foraging for Food, Sunday, July 30 – Seek out native, edible plants in this exciting, ranger-led hike. Throughout time, many of our native plants have been used for food and medicinal purposes. Discover which plants are surprisingly tasty and nutritious and which ones to avoid. This program begins at 2 p.m.
In addition to these programs, the park offers an ADA-accessible playground, a nature play-scape, picnic shelters, hiking trails, and more. The new nature center is open on weekends and includes interactive and educational activities. See and touch the hides and skulls of several native animals and more. The park’s Visitor Center houses guest information, a gift shop, the frontier museum, and a state-of-the-art theater that showcases the film Wilderness Road: Spirit of a Nation.
For more information, please contact the park office at (276) 445-3065, or visit the park’s official website.
For more information on all of Virginia’s award-winning state parks call toll-free 1-800-933-PARK (7275) or visit Virginia State Parks on the web.
The award-winning Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.