Submitted by Dalton State College
A trio of professor-led hikes featuring seasonal flora and fauna have been planned for autumn on the Dalton State College trail system.
John Lugthart, professor of biology, will lead an introductory hike on the College Creek Trail on Saturday, Oct. 6, at 9 a.m. The trail, just over a mile long, is the middle of three interconnected trails, and portions of it run alongside the stream that meanders through the campus. 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 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.
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 during the last four years.
Southbound migratory birds will be featured in a morning hike on the mile-long Cascade Trail, the northern-most of the three, led by David DesRochers, assistant professor of biology. DesRochers has particular interest in bird conservation and ecology. That hike will be held on Saturday, Oct. 13, at 9 a.m.
“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 nature,” says 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, Nov. 3, at 9 a.m. 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 Gretchen 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 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. For more information, call John Lugthart at (706) 272-2485.