Monday, April 15, 2013

Moonlight hikes, reptiles, and geology at Red Rock State Park

Sedona's red rock country offers colorful and spectacular views and at Red Rock State Park you can learn about the region with Ranger led hikes and programs. Here is a sampling for April and May: 

April 25: Moonlight Hike

The Moonlight Hike is among the most popular interpretive hikes at the Park. Led by a naturalist, it gives hikers the rare opportunity to enjoy the sunset and moonrise from an overlook and return by the light of the moon, while also having the chance to learn about Sedona and its surrounding areas.

Verde Valley and park history, as well as archeology, geology, botany, and riparian wildlife information, is offered. The hike lasts two to 2 1/2 hours and covers a distance of approximately two miles. Rangers ask hikers to arrive approximately 30 minutes before starting time to insure participation.

No late arrivals can be allowed and reservations are required! When you call 928-282-6907, the arrival time will be given. Wear suitable clothing and shoes (prepare for cool nights) and bring water, a flashlight, and insect spray. A $5.00 per person program fee is charged at the time of the reservation. There is also a $10.00 entrance fee to the park for a car of four adults. Program fees are non-refundable unless the park must cancel the hike after your arrival.

May 5: Sunday Lecture Series: Close Encounters of the Reptilian Kind 2 pm. Dennis Jex will present hands-on and interactive opportunities with his program on Close Encounters of the Reptilian Kind. The fun and educational presentation about snakes will be held in the Park theatre. Dennis will talk about the many facts and myths associated with snakes. You will also learn how to treat - or better yet - avoid snakebites, and how to relocate a snake, if necessary. Reservations are required due to limited space. Call the Park at 928-282-6907 to ensure a seat.

Live snakes will be used to enhance your "up close and personal" educational experience. Do you know snakes eat termites? Some eat scorpions, centipedes, cockroaches, and other insects. Do you know the first thing to do if you're bitten by a rattlesnake? Find out the answers to these and many other questions during this fun and interesting presentation. Visitors will have the opportunity to touch and hold non-venomous snakes for an entertaining and educational close encounter. At the end of the presentation, there will be time for questions. Don't forget to bring your camera!

Dennis Jex has presented educational programs throughout Arizona for several years. His passion for reptiles began at any early age, compelling him to be an advocate for their place on planet earth. He will familiarize you with these wonderful creatures and share fun and interesting information about them. Dennis also assists in field research projects for the benefit of snakes and lizards in Arizona.

Dennis is a strong support of Red Rock State Park, stating, "We are very fortunate to have Red Rock State Park here in Sedona. It's a special place in the heart of Red Rock Country that is a protected safe haven for many plants and animals, including snakes and lizards. Within its boundaries, the Park also protects a section of one of the most endangered ecosystems in the Southwest, the riparian area along Oak Creek. The Park maintains one of the best displays of flora and fauna, including identification books and pictures, that I have seen anywhere in Arizona. It's a good place to learn about local history, geology, and other aspects of the area as well. The Park offers an ongoing variety of public education programs. Red Rock State Park has a dedicated staff and excellent core of volunteers that enable visitors to have a high quality of educational experience on every visit. The Park holds a special place in my heart where I can go relish and rejoice in the nature experience."

May 12: Geology Hike

2 pm. Spring is perfect to join an experienced guide on a hike that focuses on the area's geology. Have you ever wondered why the rocks are red, where they came from, and where they are going? This experience will answer those questions while explaining the rock formations that create the scenic backdrop of Red Rock State Park.

The hike includes the Eagle's Nest Trail for great views while learning about the geology. More than a guided hike, it's an interpretive experience for beginners and advanced geologists. The hike lasts approximately two hours and has a 250 feet elevation climb. Bring water and wear suitable shoes.

 Red Rock State Park is open 7 days a week from 8 am – 5 pm. The Visitor Center is open 9 am – 5 pm daily. Movie Theater, Guided Walks, Jr. Ranger Program. The mission of the park is to preserve the riparian habitat associated with Oak Creek; to serve as an environmental education facility; and to provide limited passive recreational opportunities.