Take a walk in the park

Published 9:54 pm Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Make plans now to take a break in your workday for a walk on March 30.

It’s National Walk in the Park Day, and local organizations are hoping plenty of folks will join them to stretch their legs and get some fresh air at Lake Meade Park at noon that day.

“We just basically want to encourage people to get out, get healthy and enjoy the springtime outdoors,” said Helen Gabriel, assistant director at Suffolk Parks and Recreation.

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The non-competitive event will encourage people to walk any of the trails at Lake Meade Park, which is located behind the North Main Street Farm Fresh at 201 Holly Lawn Parkway. It is being sponsored by the Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community, Suffolk on the Move, Obici Healthcare Foundation and Suffolk Parks and Recreation.

Gabriel said there is a north trail, a south trail, a connector loop and a paved loop that circles the KidZone playground.

“They can go at their own speed,” said Deborah Nadell, walking coordinator at the Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community. “This is not a race, and since it’s not structured, they can do any one of them they want to do.”

While the event lasts from noon to 2 p.m., attendees should register by noon for a chance to win a Fitbit, gift cards and other prizes. They must be present to win at the drawing, which will take place around 1 p.m.

The event is free, and there is no minimum requirement of laps or age restrictions, Nadell said.

Gabriel said a guide will be available for anybody who would like to turn their walk into more of a nature hike. They can take them on paths that meander closer to the water and point out local flora and fauna, she said.

“There’s a great conservation and education component,” Gabriel said. “We’re hoping this will bring more of an awareness to the walking trails. What we want at the end of the day is that everybody has a nice, memorable experience.”

Gabriel said the event will be held rain or shine, unless the weather is really foul. In that case, calling the Partnership’s office at 539-1525 will provide information on whether the event is going forward.

Nadell said folks at the event will also be able to get information on other walking trails in the city as well as on the Suffolk on the Move 5K, set for May 14.