NEW CASTLE –Red-tail Land Conservancy is thrilled to announce a hiking event that promises to be an adventure for nature enthusiasts of all ages. This event, titled Opt Outside Habitat Hike, encourages the community to explore the outdoors the day after Thanksgiving. It will take place on Friday, November 24 from 1-4pm and will showcase the autumnal beauty of Smith-Crisler Nature Preserve at Fall Creek Woods, located south of Middletown.
“Opt Outside” is a nationwide movement to replace the traditional shopping holiday of Black Friday with outdoor exploration. “After connecting with family and friends on Thanksgiving, it is a joy to take time and connect with nature,” said Kelley V. Phillips, Red-tail’s Communications and Outreach Manager.
Red-tail’s Smith-Crisler Nature Preserve, located within Fall Creek Woods, is a brilliant display of a forest in autumn. “Visitors will hear woodpeckers, see colorful mushrooms, and experience the stillness of a forest settling down for winter,” said Phillips. “They will especially enjoy the satisfying crunch of leaves on the trail.”
Red-tail’s Opt Outside hike is unguided. Visitors can arrive and leave at their leisure. From 1pm-4pm, naturalists will be stationed along the trail to share information about wildlife that can be seen in the nature preserve.
The unpaved trail in Smith-Crisler Nature Preserve is a half-mile loop that includes a slight incline and scenic overlooks. Phillips said, “The beauty of unguided wandering is that you can take your time to enjoy the woods and walk at your own pace.”
Red-tail does not require registration for this event. They recommend bringing a camera to record the beauty of autumn woods. Taking leaves, mushrooms, or other natural items from a nature preserve is prohibited. Additionally, they strongly recommend that groups carpool.
“The Opt Outside Habitat Hike is a special opportunity to spend time with friends and family in a beautiful nature preserve while speaking to naturalists and learning about wildlife,” said Phillips. “Red-tail is delighted to provide an experience that connects people with nature during a holiday season that inspires togetherness.”
Event details and directions to Smith-Crisler Nature Preserve, located within Red-tail’s Fall Creek Woods (5975 N Mechanicsburg Rd, Middletown, IN 47356), can be found on Red-tail’s website at www.ForTheLand.org/Events
Photo: A visitor to Smith-Crisler Nature Preserve rests on a bench near the overlook. Credit Kyle Johnson.