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Volkssportverein Friedrichsburg

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Weekend Walking Event


Wildseed Farms Walk
02/11/2017
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Club History

Fredericksburg, Texas, native Kenn Knopp, was visiting his distant relatives in Germany in 1976.   He was taken on an afternoon stroll by his relatives to a cemetery where his relatives were buried.  The stroll turned out to be a six-mile ordeal.  At that time Knopp was very much overweight and upon returning to his relative's home he was confined to the bed for an extra day.  

"Now that you've started exercising" he was told, "why not join the International People's Sports Walking Club that is very popular here in Europe."  Knopp thought it was a good idea since he was on the lookout for an activity Fredericksburg might sponsor as part of its German heritage.  When he returned to Fredericksburg a walking club was formed and the international headquarters in Germany approved.  Volkssportverein Friedrichsburg (People's Sports Association Fredericksburg) then became "The First in Texas, the First in the U.S.A."

The first internationally sanctioned walk in the USA was held in Fredericksburg in June of 1976 as part of the nation's Bicentennial Celebration.  More than 200 participants came from far and wide to have their Distance Book and Event Book stamped officially.  Most of those taking part were from the military bases nearby and had been on the popular weekend walks all across Europe.  Almost immediately, new Volkssport clubs organized in Texas and across the country.  

The national headquarters of the American Volkssport Association (AVA) is now located in Universal City, a suburb of San Antonio, Texas.  Presently there are more than 400 such walk clubs across America.

Kenn Knopp has been designated the "Father of American Volkssporting."  Since Volkssportverein Friedrichsburg was the first volksmarching club formed in the United States, we are AVA1.

Our club's continuing purpose is promoting physical fitness and good health by providing fun-filled, safe exercise in a stress-free environment. We host five (5) walking events called YREs. Three of them are located in Fredericksburg. One is at the LBJ State Park in Stonewall and the other is at Enchanted Rock. See below for details.

Walking in Fredericksburg

Our club sponsors three YRE walking tours in Fredericksburg. All of these start at the Sunday House Inn at 501 E. Main. The walks offer 5K and 12K options.

  1. St. Mary's Cemeteries:  Trail includes residential areas and the two cemeteries associated with St. Mary's church; the main location and, following a refreshing stroll on the outskirts of town, the historic Pioneer Cemetery.
  2. AVA Pilgrimage:  The walk covers the historic downtown area and extends from the Stadt Friedhof, or City Cemetery, located at the east end of town to St. Mary's Cemetery on the west end.
  3. Cross Mountain:  Cross Mountain is a historical landmark.  There is a 360 degree view of the countryside from the top of this "mountain".

Walking Lyndon B. Johnson State Park

Lyndon B. Johnson State Park is only 16 miles East of Fredericksburg on US 290. This state park is directly across the Pedernales River from the LBJ Ranch.

The Walk Box is in the State Park Visitor Center, next to the bench. (There is no fee at the Visitor Center.) The Visitor Center contains memorabilia from President Johnson's presidency and interactive displays about the Land and People that shaped a president.

The walk offers distances of 5km, two different 10km, and 20km. The longer distances include the National Historical Area (the LBJ Ranch and Texas White House Complex). The two 10 km walks halve the 20km walk, so the total distance doesn't have to be walked on the same day. Tours of the White house are conducted throughout the day, with a $3 fee.

Much of our walking tour is alongside the picturesque Pedernales River. The trail also passes through a re-created circa 1915 farm and past natural areas. American buffalo, longhorns and wildflowers are all part of the panorama. The walks are mostly unshaded, so bring water and a hat.

Official park website says there is NO entrance fee for this park.

Walking Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

ERSNA is 18 miles north of Fredericksburg on Hwy 965. NOTE: The park is closed for hunting the first two weeks of January except for the weekends when it remains open to visitors. Persons should check the Texas Parks and Wildlife website for specific dates and times the park is closed for hunting. Also, during high peak tourist seasons e.g., Spring Break, the park may be deemed full and persons turned away; so, it is best to go in the early part of the day.

Although the gate opens at 8, the office doesn't open until 8:30. During the popular days, there will be a line waiting at the door before 8:30, but you can use a self-pay envelope (provided) to avoid the line. There is a $7.00 entry fee to get into the park "unless you have a State Parks pass."

Enchanted Rock is a huge, pink granite dome that rises 425 feet above ground. The climb to the summit is an optional 2km add-on. The regular routes goes around the base of the dome and is on relatively level on earth and gravel trail.

If you are planning to spend several days touring Fredericksburg you might want to try one its many Bed and Breakfasts.

For your dining pleasure there are many fine restaurants. Fredericksburg also has many fine beer gardens if you would like to reward yourself with a pint or two after a day's ramble.

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