Dedication Event Set for September 16

BETHANY, W.Va. - The Bethany College Trails Restoration Project, in the Parkinson Forest located on the campus, was recently completed. The trail renovations started last September with funding provided from the West Virginia Department of Highways and Transportation and the Student Conservation Association.

The five existing trails were restored with sufficient accessibility, making the total length of paths in excess of 2.5 miles long. A portion of the trail is handicap accessible and most of the trails involve easy to moderate hiking.

An outdoor classroom was also restored and is available to students and teachers in all educational classes. The outdoor classroom can accommodate 30 students, has a brick fireplace and is handicap accessible.

For years the trails have only been utilized by a small number of Bethany students and members of the community. Paths were hardly accessible due to erosion and overgrown vegetation. Little was known about the trails prior to the restoration.

Dea Merenda, a Bethany College senior from Follansbee, said, "I never realized that we had trails until the restoration project began, but how exciting it is to be able to enjoy nature on the restored paths."

The Parkinson Forest, in which the Bethany Trails lie, was given to Bethany College in 1914 by Margaret Parkinson. The land had been in her family for years, and she was willing to donate acreage to the College under the stipulation that the forest must remain preserved and be an asset in the education of students at Bethany. Destruction of the natural woodlands was forbidden in order to conserve the forest for future generations.

Through the work of community service workers and the supervision of Bethany College Outdoors Adventure Coordinator, Ty Bullard, the trails have been successfully restored for public use.

"This project is the beginning of a wonderful opportunity for both Bethany and its surrounding communities to enjoy the beauty that the Ohio Valley holds," Bullard said.

The Bethany Trails offers exploration of outdoor activities while combining historical attributes of the Parkinson Forest. A dedication event will be held on September 16 to commemorate the hard work of those involved in this project and as a tribute to the early conservationist, Margaret Parkinson.