Summit Metro Parks and the Medina County Park District are both offering hikes this fall.
The 59th Annual Summit Metro Parks Fall Ride officially begins Thursday and will run through November 30.
A first-time participant who completes eight hikes will earn a hiking pole and a metal shield. A seasoned hiker will earn a shield. Hikes can be done on a person’s schedule and pace.
The complete list of 2022 hiking trails and hiking forms is available at Summitmetroparks.org/hiking-spree.aspx. Guided hikes are also listed on the website. This year’s festival celebrates native plants and their role in supporting local wildlife.
The event started in the mid-1960s as a way to encourage people to visit a variety of trails. Each year, around 50,000 people attend the party, with an average of around 15,000 graduates.
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Fall Spree Rewards are free for residents of Summit County. Out-of-county residents pay to receive rewards ($10 for first-year hikers and $5 for veteran hikers).
Hike forms are available online, in the September/October issue of Green Islands magazine, and by visiting the FA Seiberling Nature Realm (1828 Smith Road, Akron), the Liberty Park Nature Center (9999 Liberty Road, Twinsburg), or the Summit Lake Nature Center (411 Ira Avenue, Akron). Forms were also placed in a drop box outside the Park District Administrative Offices (975 Treaty Line Road, Akron), at county kiosks, and at all Acme Fresh Market locations.
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The Park District’s Centennial Tour is also underway, and many of the fall hiking trails are stops on the self-guided tour, which has been extended through the end of 2022.
Entrants can visit 20 Summit Metro Parks locations to earn a free commemorative leather tag. There is an interpretive sign at each designated location with information about the area’s significance in the history of the park district. The experience is accessible to all, without hiking, because the signs adjoin the parking areas.
To download the guide, go to Summitmetroparks100.org/centennial-tour. The free guide is also available at newsstands across the county. Centennial Tour reward pickups can be done at any building in the Park District.
Trekking through the fall in the Medina County Park District
The Medina County District’s 16th annual self-guided hiking program, Trekking Through Autumn, allows participants to earn rewards by completing a minimum of eight designated hikes between September 1 and November 30. Trekking Through Autumn offers a choice of 14 hiking trails in parks and nature reserves, as well as the Hiker’s Choice option.
Hikers complete the walks at their own pace and on their own schedules. Medina County Park sites are open daily from 6:00 a.m. until one hour after sunset, except for the Oenslager Nature Center, which is open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The nature center is located within the Alderfer-Chatfield Wildlife Sanctuary and pets are not permitted on site. Leashed dogs are welcome at all other park locations.
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To participate, pick up a Trekking Through Autumn form at Medina County Park District Headquarters (6364 Deerview Lane, Medina), Oenslager Nature Center (6100 Ridge Road, also known as State Route 94, Township of Sharon) or print one at medinacountyparks. com/index.php/programs/trekking-through-autumn.
Bring completed forms to the Oenslager Nature Center by December 18 to claim rewards while supplies last. Backpacks are awarded to first-year participants and hiking pins are awarded in subsequent years.
Rewards are free to residents of Medina County. Out-of-county residents pay $10 for backpacks and $3 for hiking pins. Pins are not available for first year hikers.