Obed opens rock climbing and boating program for homeschooled 8th graders | New

WARTBURG — A decade ago, with funding from a grant from the National Park Foundation, the River Obed Wild and Scenic launched its “National Park in Your Backyard” program for sixth-graders in the county of Morgan.

In the first eight years of the program, more than 2,000 sixth-graders participated in the program, but the programs did not take place in 2020 or 2021 due to the pandemic. The park is excited to announce that these programs will be held again this year and will be open to current eighth graders in an effort to reach students who have been missed during the pandemic. Future programs will provide this opportunity for other middle school classes who missed the experience. As in previous years, the opportunity to participate in this program will be extended to students who are homeschooled or who attend schools other than public schools.

In this program, students spend half the day under Lilly Bluff, where they will learn how to use pulleys in a mechanical advantage system to hoist an adult into the air. They will also have the opportunity to try their hand at rock climbing which attracts visitors from all over the world to the Obed. Students will spend the other half of the day along the banks of Clear Creek where they will learn to use aquatic organisms as an indicator of stream health. There, in calm water, they will also receive basic training in paddling canoes and kayaks. All necessary safety equipment such as harnesses, helmets and life jackets will be provided.

To participate in May 2022 programs, students must be in eighth grade and must be attending school, either at home or in another nonpublic school setting, in Morgan County. The total number of participants will be limited to 50 and the program will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, please call the park office at 423-346-6294 or email Chief Ranger Matt Hudson at [email protected] Registered participants should meet park staff at Lilly Bridge at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 24. Each student must be accompanied by a parent, teacher, or other adult guardian who will be responsible for that student. Students should bring drinking water, lunch, sturdy shoes, sunscreen, and a change of clothes if desired. The program should end around 2 p.m.

Please contact the park at 423-346-6294 for more information.

Virginia F. Goins