Hiking events

Fall 2021 ride has over 2,000 new participants

More than 15,000 hikers – two-legged and four-legged – hiked the trails of Summit Metro Parks during the 2021 Fall Hike.

The 15,330 hikers included 2,557 hikers trying Summit Metro Parks trails for the first time and 244 canine companions, park officials said.

However, while last year’s numbers were impressive, they fell just short of the 2020 Fall Ride record, which had nearly 17,000 people complete the annual challenge.

“During the pandemic, we have seen a significant increase in the number of visitors to the park, said Lisa King, executive director of Summit Metro Parks. “Our parks offered people a place of respite and a chance to explore the outdoors in a safe and convenient way. Many were first-time visitors who went on to explore our parks and all we have to offer. We We’re thrilled to see the number of party attendees growing, and we hope 2022 will set a new record.”

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Hikes offer an activity, a challenge for families and individuals

During the annual fall hike, which runs from September 1 to November 30 each year, prospective hikers must complete at least eight designated trails, including one of the hiker’s choice. There is a form listing the designated hikes of the year for hikers to complete. There are 12 tracks to choose from with varying levels of difficulty.

First-year hikers earn a hiking stick and a shield. Returning hikers earn an extra shield to put on their hiking stick. These rewards are free to residents of Summit County; out-of-county residents pay $10 for first-year hikers and $5 for returning hikers.

The 2022 Fall Ride will be the 59th year of this event.

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For those who want a warm-up, Summit Metro Parks will have their 19th annual Spree for All from May 1 through June 30.

“This hike is made up of flat, easy trails and is carefully curated for hikers with strollers, walkers and wheelchairs,” King said.

In the Spree For All, hikers are invited to take five hikes – which can be five different trails, the same trail or a combination. First-year hikers earn a neck lanyard and commemorative pin, and returning hikers earn a commemorative pin.

Hiker for the first time? Plan ahead, stay on the trails

King said hikers should follow a few safety tips, like staying on the trail and planning ahead before venturing out.

“Hikers are encouraged to be good trail stewards by staying on the trail for their own safety as well as the protection of natural resources,” King said. “When planning a hike, park visitors are encouraged to consult the park map in advance and check for trail alerts on Summitmetroparks.org.”

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Alerts are also posted on the Summit Metro Parks Twitter page at @metro_parks.

Additionally, hikers need to stay hydrated, King said.

“Dehydration can happen quickly, but it’s easily avoided by bringing a bottle of water on your hike,” she said.

Journalist April Helms can be reached at [email protected]