Fred Weinmann, right, past president of the Olympic Peninsula chapter of the Native Plant Society, explains the medicinal properties of certain trees during a New Year’s Day “Teddy Bear Hike” at Old Fort Townsend State Park near Port Townsend. Members were asked to bring a bear on the hike. Some wore them while others had them in packs or in pockets. (Jeannie McMacken/Peninsula Daily News)

Fred Weinmann, right, past president of the Olympic Peninsula chapter of the Native Plant Society, explains the medicinal properties of certain trees during a New Year’s Day “Teddy Bear Hike” at Old Fort Townsend State Park near Port Townsend. Members were asked to bring a bear on the hike. Some wore them while others had them in packs or in pockets. (Jeannie McMacken/Peninsula Daily News)

Walk in Port Townsend woods marks first day of the year for Native Plant Society

PORT TOWNSEND — The Olympic Peninsula chapter of the Native Plant Society took a walk in the woods to celebrate the new year.

“The group has been doing this in Port Townsend for 15 years,” chapter past President Fred Weinmann said Tuesday.

“We pick a place near town that we call the ‘wilderness within.’ We go on a short hike to welcome the new.”

Two dozen chapter members walked through Old Fort Townsend State Park. Weinmann said sometimes the group hikes Fort Worden or Cappy’s Trails, but always stays close to town.

As the group moved farther into the woods, Weinmann began a spontaneous lecture about the trees, shrubs, and native plants they would see along the way. He began to explain the use of certain types of trees in medicine.

Weinmann said the group calls the day the “Teddy Bear Hike” because the Mountaineers have the 10 Essentials, and the 11th is “the teddy bear on New Year’s Day.”

“It isn’t required, but we expect everyone to bring one,” he said.

The Mountaineers is a statewide alpine club which has listed the 10 essentials for hiking.

All state parks were fee-free for visitors.

On New Year’s Day, Discover Passes were not needed to visit state parks, which on the North Olympic Peninsula are, in addition to Fort Townsend, Bogachiel near Forks, Dosewallips near Brinnon, Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island, Fort Worden in Port Townsend, Anderson Lake State Park near Chimacum and Sequim Bay near Sequim.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]

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