This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – With winter weather and COVID-19 keeping many people indoors, health experts say seasonal depression is becoming an increasingly big issue for millions of Americans.

New trails across the Huntsville area are helping people get over their seasonal blues.

John Kvach has been pitching the benefits of the Singing River Trail across north Alabama – and its historic roots with a Native American woman.

“The Tennessee River sang to her,” Kvach said. “She could hear it. When they removed her forcibly during the Trail of Tears, she went to Oklahoma and the rivers there didn’t sing. She spent the next couple years making her way back to the Tennessee River, back to the Singing River, back to Alabama so she could hear the river sing again.”

In his efforts to expand the Singing River Trail regionally, Kvach, the trail’s executive director, has been talking about various benefits of the project to mayors across north Alabama. The first stretch of the Singing River Trail opened in December between the new Grissom High School and Bell Mountain Park in Huntsville.

“What we’re seeing after almost a year of being quarantined, or at least being restricted on what we can do, that outside, outdoor recreation and outdoor hospitality is becoming more and more important,” he said.

Health experts say spending time outside and exercise each day can help alleviate seasonal depression. Walking or biking through the woods accomplishes both health recommendations.

“You kind of get a one, two punch if you’re out on a trail, if you’re outside biking, you’re absorbing the sunlight, but you’re also getting that exercise, the endorphins going,” Kvach said. “Things that make you feel a little happier.”

The Singing River Trail could eventually connect multiple cities and towns in Alabama. Kvach says, among other planned expansions in the city, the trail will likely connect with Ditto Landing by the end of this year.