The 56th annual Fall Hiking Spree starts Sunday in Summit Metro Parks.
To recognize the 50th anniversary of the fire on the Cuyahoga River that sparked the modern environmental movement, spree hikers this year can elect to “Hike the Cuyahoga.” Nine of this year's 13 designated spree trails feature the river or its tributaries, allowing hikers to complete Fall Hiking Spree hikes while exploring the river.
"Hiking the Cuyahoga" is optional. As always, any eight hikes from the designated trail list can be completed to earn rewards.
The spree began in the mid-1960s to encourage people to visit a variety of trails instead of always hiking the one closest to home.
A first-time participant who completes eight hikes through Nov. 30 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 or during a number of naturalist-led hikes offered by the park district.
Every year, an estimated 50,000 people participate in the spree, and between 11,000 and 12,000 hikers earn rewards. Last year, 11,060 people completed eight or more trails, and 1,878 were identified as first-year hikers.
Fall Hiking Spree rewards are free to Summit County residents. Out-of-county residents pay to receive rewards ($10 for first-year hikers, $5 for veteran hikers). Hiking forms are available online at hikingspree.summitmetroparks.org, at the visitors center at F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm (1828 Smith Road, Akron), the nature center at Liberty Park (9999 Liberty Road, Twinsburg) and all Acme Fresh Market stores.
For information about the spree and naturalist-led programs that are good for spree credit, call 330-865-8065.