Summit Metro Parks and the Medina County Park District are both offering fall hiking events this autumn.
Summit Metro Parks’ 59th annual Fall Hiking Spree officially starts Thursday and runs through Nov. 30.
A first-time participant who completes eight hikes will earn a hiking staff and metal shield. A veteran spree hiker will earn a shield. Hikes can be completed on a person’s own schedule and at their own pace.
The full list of 2022 spree trails and hiking forms are available at summitmetroparks.org/hiking-spree.aspx. Guided hikes also are listed on the website. This year’s spree celebrates native plants and their role supporting local wildlife.
The event began in the mid-1960s as a way to encourage people to visit a variety of trails. Every year, an estimated 50,000 people participate in the spree, with an average of about 15,000 finishers.
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Fall Hiking Spree rewards are free to Summit County residents. Out-of-county residents pay to receive rewards ($10 for first-year hikers and $5 for veteran hikers).
Hiking 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), Liberty Park Nature Center (9999 Liberty Road, Twinsburg) or Summit Lake Nature Center (411 Ira Ave., Akron). Forms have also been placed in a dropbox outside the park district’s administrative offices (975 Treaty Line Road, Akron), at kiosks countywide and in all Acme Fresh Market locations.
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The park district’s Centennial Tour is also ongoing, and many Fall Hiking Spree trails are stops on the self-guided tour, which has been extended through the end of 2022.
Participants can visit 20 Summit Metro Parks locations to earn a free commemorative leather tag. There’s an interpretive panel at each designated location with information about the area’s significance in the history of the park district. The experience is accessible to all, with no hiking required, as the panels are next to parking areas.
To download the guide, visit summitmetroparks100.org/centennial-tour. The free guide also is available at newsagents countywide. Rewards pick-ups for the Centennial Tour can be completed at any of the park district’s buildings.
Medina County Park District’s Trekking Through Autumn
The Medina County Park District’s 16th annual self-guided hiking program, Trekking Through Autumn, allows participants to earn awards by completing at least eight designated hikes between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30. Trekking Through Autumn offers a choice of 14 hiking trails in parks and nature preserves, plus the Hiker’s Choice option.
Hikers complete the walks at their own pace and on their own schedules. Medina County park sites are open every day from 6 am until one hour past sunset, except the Oenslager Nature Center, which is open 9 am to 5 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 pm Sundays. The nature center is located in the Alderfer-Chatfield Wildlife Sanctuary, and pets are not permitted at the site. Dogs on leashes 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), the Oenslager Nature Center (6100 Ridge Road, also known as state Route 94, in Sharon Township) or print one at medinacountyparks. com/index.php/programs/trekking-through-autumn.
Bring completed forms to the Oenslager Nature Center by Dec. 18 to claim awards while supplies last. Backpacks are awarded to first-year participants, and hiking pins are awarded in successive years.
Awards are free for Medina County residents. Out-of-county residents pay $10 for backpacks and $3 for hiking pins. Pins aren’t available to first-year hikers.
Contact Beacon Journal reporter Emily Mills at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @EmilyMills818.