For those looking to get outdoors before going indoors to watch the Orioles and Ravens on television Sunday, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy wants you.

As part of the National Public Lands Day, the ATC Visitor Center in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., is hosting its second-annual Family Hiking Day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. next Saturday.

Admission is free.

According to Javier Folgar, marketing and communications manager for the ATC, the activity in Harpers Ferry grew out of the national event.

"It was a way to encourage families, and in particular, youth, to get outdoors and become one with nature," Folgar said.

The hikes will be self-guided, but materials outlining the various trails will be available at the visitor center as well as online at appalachiantrail.org/FamilyHike.

Those who don't want to trek out to Harpers Ferry and are interested in exploring the Appalachian Trail in Maryland can go to the website for information about family-friendly hiking areas along the route.

The self-guided hikes will be held from Maine to Georgia, Folgar said.

Those hiking the trail can complete a booklet with activities that were developed by the National Park Service and the ATC. After finishing the trail and the booklet, younger participants will receive a Junior Ranger badge or patch.

The ATC was founded by federal officials and volunteers in 1925 and is celebrating the 75th year since being the trail opened. Now 2,180 miles, it is one of the longest continuously marked footpaths in the world.

The ATC Visitor Center is at 799 Washington St. in Harpers Ferry.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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