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Medina County hiking program begins Sept. 1

8/21/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

Shown is the paved trail at River Styx Park.
Photo courtesy of Medina County Park District
MEDINA COUNTY — The eighth year of Trekking Through Autumn — a self-guided hiking program that allows hikers to discover the beauty of autumn in the Medina County Park District — will kick off Sept. 1 and run through Nov. 30.

Dan Bertsch, chief naturalist for the park district, said the program is a great way for the community to discover what Medina County parks have to offer.

“Many, many people tell us that before they did this program, they didn’t even know that a lot of these parks existed,” he said. “We got them into parks they didn’t know about and, of course, they fell in love with those parks. They will go back to them and hike them again on their own and have picnics there.”

The goal of the Trekking Through Autumn program, Bertsch said, is for each hiker to complete at least eight of the 20 designated trails in the Medina County park system. As an incentive to hike in eight or more different parks, those who accomplish the goal will receive a prize.

Backpacks will be awarded for a hiker’s first year reaching the goal, while hiking pins will be awarded for each successive year.

“The rewards are like the icing on the cake,” Bertsch said.

The awards are free for all Medina County residents, while out-of-county residents pay $10 for the backpack or $2 for the hiking pin.

Bertsch said the following trails are eligible for the program this year:

  • Allardale — Outer Loop Trail (1 mile);
  • Buckeye Woods Park — Chippewa Inlet Trail’s North Wetland Loop (1.5 miles);
  • Chippewa Inlet Trail, Chippewa Road — halfway and back (1.75 miles);
  • Chippewa Rail Trail — halfway and back (2.4 miles);
  • C.L. Mugrage Park — Wood and Pond Loop Trail (1 mile);
  • Green Leaf Park — Wetland Trail (.25 mile);
  • Hubbard Valley Park — Yellow Trail (1.25 miles);
  • Lester Rail Trail — halfway and back (3 miles);
  • Letha House Park East — Great Horned Owl Bridle Trail (1.5 miles) and Pawpaw Grove Trail (.5 mile);
  • Letha House Park West — Lake Trail (.5 mile) and Wood Thrush Trail (1 mile);
  • Plum Creek Park — Red Trail (1 mile);
  • Princess Ledges Nature Preserve — Nature Trail (1 mile);
  • River Styx Park — Outer Loop and All Purpose Trail (1.25 miles);
  • Schleman Nature Preserve — Green Trail (1.5 miles) and Yellow Trail (1 mile); and
  • Wolf Creek Environmental Center — Red Trail Loop (1 mile).

“The number of trails keeps increasing, but we will probably never go beyond requiring eight trails,” Bertsch said. “For a family to go out and do eight trails, that can take a while. Plus, if someone does eight trails one year, they can do a totally different eight the next year — just for variety.”

Each of the trails is suitable for all types of hikers, Bertsch said.

“None of the trails are what you would call strenuous,” he noted. “We don’t have a lot of hills, so it’s all fairly flat.”

According to Bertsch, a “couple hundred” people take part in the program each year, with the program continuing to grow in popularity annually.

“More and more people are hearing about it, and more people are doing it,” he said. “We also have a few people who come from outside of Medina. There are people that really like to get out and hike, and when they are done with the parks over in Summit County, they come over here because this is new for them.”

Bertsch noted that pets are allowed to accompany their owners on most of the trails.

“Pets are allowed, but, of course, it’s a state law to have your dogs leashed on the trails,” he said. “The only exception is Wolf Creek Environmental Center. Because it’s a wildlife sanctuary, no pets are allowed.”

Participants can pick up forms at the Wolf Creek Environmental Center, 6100 Ridge Road in Sharon Center, or visit www.medinacountyparks.com.

To receive the hiking rewards, hikers need to bring completed forms to the Wolf Creek Environmental Center or the park office at 6364 Deerview Lane in Medina.

All hikes must take place between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30 to qualify for the reward. For more information, call the Medina County Park District office at 330-722-9364 or visit the website.

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