George Mason University

News at Mason

Walking Trail Opens on Fairfax Campus

April 26, 2012

Text by Erin Cushing ; video by Paul King

Faculty, staff and students gathered at the newly established “Wellness Circle” outside of University Hall to help President Alan Merten’s wife, Sally, and Wellness by Mason celebrate the inauguration of the Yellow Birch Trail, the Fairfax Campus’ first official walking trail.

The trail is 1.6 miles long and parallels Patriot Circle, winding its way through campus before finishing at the Wellness Circle, where it begins. Distance markers are placed along the trail at every .2 mile, so walkers are able to track their progress.

Wellness by Mason is an initiative begun in August 2008 to promote healthy choices among faculty, staff and students across all ages. One of the pillars of the initiative is exercise, which is why the program was so eager to install the walking trail. Sally Merten, a nurse by training, has always been a staunch supporter of Wellness by Mason and worked to make the Yellow Birch Trail a reality.

Patrice Winter, life planning coordinator in Human Resources and Payroll and term assistant professor in the College of Health and Human Services, introduced the program.

Prior to cutting the ribbon, Merten commented on the departments that helped support the creation of the trail, such as the Center for Study of Chronic Illness and Disability, Department of Rehabilitation Science and Student Health Services.

“If you use the trail, you won’t need their services,” she quipped.

Mrs. Sally Merten and Patrice Winter from Wellness by Mason introduced the 1.6 mile walking trail called the Yellow Birch Trail, which winds around Patriot Circle.