By: Jenna Thomas
Cleveland’s seemingly never ending winter has finally come to a close, days are getting longer and there is plenty of nature to explore around us. Each year, the Cleveland Metroparks releases a list of trails to complete within the calendar year, hoping to prompt nature lovers to explore new trails and parks. The list includes 30 trails, including some launch sites for kayaks and canoes, all varying in lengths from .3 miles to 8 miles.
Participants cannot complete the challenge without exploring multiple nature reservations, including West Creek Reservation in Parma, Mill Stream Run Reservation in Berea, and North Chagrin Reservation in Willoughby. Cleveland State students who remain local during the summer can start the trail challenge by registering here.
Those who complete at least 10 trails can earn a Trail Challenge 2021 sticker; those who complete at least 20 trails earn a 2021 Trail Challenge stainless steel pint glass. Participants can track their trails online or by printed form.
Anton Krieger, a senior at Cleveland State, is participating in the Trail Challenge.
“As a Westsider, I would rarely venture over to the Eastside nature preserves. I’m glad I stepped out of my bubble because there are some gems over there. North Chagrin Reservation is now one of my favorite places to hike,” Kreiger said.
With summer break just a few weeks away, the Trail Challenge is just one option for CSU students who want to stay connected and spend time together safely outdoors. If 20 trails seem like an easy task the Cleveland Metroparks recently updated their mobile app to allow users to easily find trails near them. The app also includes information on upcoming programs and events.
In a press release, Metroparks CEO Brian Zimmerman restated their excitement to be able to further connect Clevelanders with the parks system.
“With more visitors than ever across Cleveland Metroparks, we are always reminded that everyone’s connection to the Park District is personal and unique. We’re excited to offer this new way for guests to interact with the Emerald Necklace, whether guests are seeking a peaceful retreat to nature, a new trail adventure, an opportunity to learn from one of our expert naturalists or find time and space to connect with friends and family.”