Beginning Tuesday, January 18, the East Bay Regional Park District's eighteenth annual Trails Challenge is accepting registrations for 2011. This self-guided hiking program surpassed 9,000 participants in 2010, and even more are expected to sign up this year. Once again the Trails Challenge will be free this year thanks to a partnership with Kaiser Permanente of Northern California.
The Trails Challenge is a self-guided hiking program that gives participants an incentive to visit regional parks new to them, while promoting good health and conditioning through enjoyable outdoor exercise.
Participants who register for the Trails Challenge will receive a free t-shirt and online access to the 2011 trail booklet. The booklet includes detailed trail descriptions, including driving directions, for hikes in 20 different Regional Parks or Trails. Hikes range from easy to challenging. There are trails open to hikers, bicyclists and equestrians, and many are wheelchair accessible.
An e-mail confirmation will provide registration instructions on how to download the guidebook and order a free, organic cotton, Trails Challenge t-shirt (t-shirts are limited to two per household while supplies last).
In a move towards "going green," participants are encouraged to print out only portions of the booklet they need, though complete hard copies will be available for $5 each. Besides the specific trail information, the booklet contains general park district information and tips for new trail users. All information is available online at the time of registration.
To complete the actual challenge, participants are asked to hike five of the trails and send in their log after doing so. They will receive a commemorative pin mailed to them. As in past challenges, the honor system applies. Nobody is checking to make sure participants hiked the trails.
The 2011 Trails Challenge includes the following parks and trails: Anthony Chabot Regional Park, Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, Brushy Peak Regional Preserve, Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline, Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve, Coyote Hills Regional Park, Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach, Don Castro Regional Recreation Area, Dublin Hills Regional Park, East Bay Skyline National Trail, Garin/Dry Creek Pioner Regional Parks, Las Trampas Regional Wilderness, Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline,Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park, Point Isabel Regional Shoreline, Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, Quarry Lakes Regional Park, Redwood Regional Park, Round Valley Regional Preserve, and Sobrante Ridge Regional Preserve.
This year's theme is "Picturesque Parks", and participants are encouraged to post photographs of their hikes to the Park District's Facebook fan page (facebook.com/EastBayParks) or flickr group (flickr.com/groups/ebparks). Photographs from the flickr group will be considered for use in District publications.