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Entertainment & Lifestyle

Local sites offer quest for fun

4/25/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Questers are shown leaving their mark with a stamp at a local quest site.
Photo: Susan Simenc
GREATER AKRON — Outdoor sites throughout Akron are offering new ways to find adventure through questing.

The activity is offered through Canalway Questing, a collaborative effort among the National Park Service and Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP), the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area, and their partners Cleveland Metroparks; Stark Parks; Cascade Locks Park Association; and Metro Parks, Serving Summit County. This year, Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens also is taking part in the program.

In questing, participants follow clues that help them experience a site in a new way. All that’s needed to take part is a writing implement.

Each quest has been created with a theme and clues that lead the participant to a hidden treasure box. There they will find a log they can write their name in or leave an imprint of their personal stamp.

Toivo Motter, Stan Hywet’s director of education, said the historic site in West Akron will have one quest ready in June and another one in fall.

“We hope it’s a way in which folks can kind of rediscover the property, whether you’re a longtime member or someone coming for the first time,” Motter said. “We really hope it adds a new aspect to coming to the property. You can still do tours, and that’s great, but you can go on this new adventure and see the property a little bit differently.”

The first quest will be on the landscape design at Stan Hywet, Motter said.

“It’s kind of neat because there are a lot of clues along the way that you might not notice if you’re just walking around,” Motter said.

Arrye Rosser, a CVNP interpretive and education specialist, oversees the creation of the Canalway Questing activities. She said this year there are currently 30 quests, with five of them new since a year ago, and more new ones are planned for later this year.

The program got under way this year April 15. It was initially piloted in the fall of 2010, and since then, Rosser said she estimates 3,000 individuals have taken part in quests.

“The feedback I get is that there’s a wide variety of people this appeals to,” Rosser said. “We have families with little kids, parents, grandparents, couples, people celebrating their anniversary and friends that like to hike together. It appeals to people for the social aspect and the recreational aspect.”

She added that this year there are two new quests at Furnace Run Metro Park in Richfield. And in CVNP, there’s the first biking quest, which is along 17 miles of the Towpath Trail.

The Octagon Shelter is also the starting point for a new tranquility quest, which is more meditative and in a more isolated area, Rosser said.

The program is also planning to expand with quests in Barberton and Zoar, she added.

Information on all of the quests is available at www.ohioanderiecanalway.com under “Activities.” The site includes a quest guide that details the trail conditions, estimated length of time and optional equipment to bring.

Questing information is also available at park visitor centers, but Rosser said the website has the most updated information.

Special programs also are planned on questing. On May 18-19, June 9 and Aug. 24, visitors can talk with a park ranger and Quest Crew volunteers about the Canalway Questing program, as well as pick up the latest quest clues and carve a signature stamp, at the Hunt Farm Visitor Information Center, 2054 Bolanz Road in Peninsula, from 1 to 3 p.m.

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