AKRON The Summit Metro Parks is encouraging everyone to take a hike through the end of June during its Spree For All hiking series.
"Through our Spree For All hiking series, we encourage hikers on foot and those with strollers, wheelchairs, walkers and canes to earn rewards by hiking five times on flat, easy trails in the Metro Parks," said Metro Parks Marketing Special Lindsay Smith.
This is the 15th annual Spree For All and it runs from now until June 30. It is a self-guided, at-your-own-pace event.
"Since the trails are located throughout Summit County, it’s a great opportunity to visit new parks," said Smith.
Spree For All trails are flat and are ideal for new hikers or parents with kids who can’t hike long distances. The surfaces of the trails are tested by clients of United Disability Services to ensure that they are accessible to hikers of all abilities travelling on foot, in wheelchairs or with walkers. The Spree For All also allows for pets to accompany hikers in all of the parks except for F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm. The Metro Parks ask that pets remain on a leash, and that owners clean up after their pets when visiting the parks.
There are three multipurpose trails that hikers can enjoy, including the Bike and Hike Trail, Freedom Trail and the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail. Also, there are accessible trails located at Cascade Valley, F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm, Furnace Run, Goodyear Heights, Liberty, Munroe Falls and Sand Run Metro Parks. The parks offer a total of 13 trail sections that can be hiked for spree credit.
First-year participants who hike five times during the spree will receive a neck lanyard, pouch and commemorative pin. This year’s pin design features a graphic design to commemorate the event’s 15th year. A veteran hiker will receive the commemorative pin. Rewards are free to Summit County residents, and out-of-county residents pay a small fee for their rewards. ($10 first year, $5 veteran).
The Spree For All began in 2004 and since that time, 36,237 participants have completed at least five hikes to earn rewards. In 2017, 2,514 people receive rewards.
The Spree For All is offered each spring but, is not the only hiking spree the parks offer. The Fall Hiking Spree is the longest running event of its kind in the nation. Beginning Sept. 1 and going through Nov. 30, the Fall Spree will be in its 55th year. The trails range from easy to challenging and hikers can choose what works best for them.
To participate in the sprees, forms are available at the visitor’s center at F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm, 1828 Smith Road; the nature center at Liberty Park, 9999 Liberty Road, Twinsburg; the administrative offices, 975 Treaty Line Road, Akron; at all Acme Fresh Market stores; or visit www.summitmetroparks.org/summit-metro-parks-sprees.aspx.
The metro parks provide 14,300 acres of managed park space. Those acres are made up of 16 parks and 125 miles of trails which include 22.4 miles of Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath. The metro parks were founded in 1921 and have 5.2 million annual visits.