The History of the Nature Trails at Hampden-Sydney
The forests around the College have been a source of recreation and study ever since the College's first years.
Formal access to these woods, in the form of cut and improved trails, did not come, however, until 1984, when Dr. Shelton Hardaway Short III '48, an expert of forest and timber management, presented a significant gift to the College with which to build a nature trail through the various forest habitats near the northwest corner of campus. This first nature trail, just over half a mile long, is named in honor of Dr. Short's parents, the Honorable Shetlon H. Short, Jr. and Bess Morton Good Jeffreys Short.
Inspired by this gift, other trailblazers, including students interested in biking and faculty members who wanted to hike and camp out, cut further trails into the backwoods of the College's property.
In 1997, another donor, this time anonymous, suggested that a longer trail circuit be improved so that it could be hiked by several people abreast and used by the cross-country team and bikers. The finished trail was named, at the suggestion of many students as well as of the donor, in honor of President Wilson. It was dedicated on October 8, 1998, with a timed mountain-bike race.