SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - If anyone needs an "excuse" to visit North Bend State Park, the diverse outdoor activities planned for early July are reason enough.

"It's all about getting families outdoors and staying active," said Ken Zebo, North Bend State Park naturalist and activities coordinator. "If the programs we offer at North Bend impact a life because something is learned or a topic creates a lifelong interest, then it's all good."

Activities include hikes, plant pounding (transferring plant pigments onto paper), herp hunts, cornhole, Wild about Wild Turkeys and ghost story hikes. Special programs include Geology Rocks with Geologist Ken Ashton, Stepping Stones Band and W.Va. Snakes with Jim Fregonara.

North Bend also offers a youth program called Young People for Parks (YPP). Many YPP activities allow youth to earn a patch and certificate. "Youth 6-16 are invited to participate in a minimum of three nature-based learning activities," Zebo said. Adults are also welcome on YPP activities. "Nature is wondrous regardless of age."

All activities are free and open to the public. North Bend State Park lodge is offering 35 percent off room rates July 1 - 5. North Bend State Park is located in Ritchie County near Cairo, W.Va. and Harrisville W.Va. For information about park accommodations, hiking trails, lake and fishing, camping and the North Bend Rail Trail, visit www.northbendsp.com or call 304-643-2931.

For a schedule of events for North Bend State Park through July 6, see www.northbendsp.com

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