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Camp Bayou Prepares For National Trails Day

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Dolly Cummings
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Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center
Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center is putting together a series of outdoor activites fo the National Trails Day.

Summertime conjures up thoughts of sunshine, sand and shores. It’s a long break away from school or a week-long vacation spent near the beach.

But for Dolly Cummings, the managing director for Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center, Florida is a lot more than beaches. It's an exciting exploration of various natural wildlife habitats.

“There is always something new around the bend,” Cummings said. “There’s a turtle that just laid its eggs, or a new insect that I haven’t seen before, or perhaps a gopher tortoise that is munching its lunch on the trail, it’s just always something new and different and no matter how many times you’ve visited the same trail, it’s never the same.”

Camp Bayou, located in Ruskin, is a nonprofit group run by volunteers and run in partnership with the Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation department. It also relies on private donations. 

This Saturday (June 4), the camp is hoping to raise its profile by joining hundreds of parks, forests and trails across the United States in celebrating the 24th annual National Trails Day.

The American Hiking Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s hiking trails, according to its website, created National Trails Day as an easy and introductory way to explore nature. Trail events are designed to be family friendly and open to the public. Many of the events are free.  

Cummings said Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center will be hosting trail walks through a variety of south Hillsborough habitats, by land and water. The nature trail hikes are free, and patrons can rent a three-man-canoe for $25.

“Our particular event is called ‘Morning Meandering’ because it’s only going to be from 9 a.m. to noon,” Cummings said. “We will have canoe trips, guided trail walks and a couple of activities if you’re not into just trail walking.”