Sunday, June 6, 2010

National Trails Day celebrated on the Lodi WI segment of the Ice Age Trail

Lodi, WI was host again this year to a National Trails Day® (NTD) event - The Mammoth Fun Run and Walk (5K and 10K).  The National Trails Day theme this year is "Find Your Happy Place." In the Scenic Lodi Valley, the Ice Age Trail (IAT) for many is exactly that kind of happy place - to hike, run, walk, go birding and just enjoy the outdoors.

National Trails Day is a National Event
The first Saturday in June is National Trails Day® (NTD).  This is the American Hiking Society's signature trail awareness program, which was created to inspire the public and trail enthusiasts nationwide to seek out their favorite trails to discover, learn about, and celebrate trails while participating in educational exhibits, trail dedications, gear demonstrations, instructional workshops and trail work projects.

Lodi makes it unique
Organized this year by Joanna Fanney of the Lodi Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance, local volunteers turned out in force to help support this very family friendly event. The event itself has been going on for at least 7 years, at least since the establishment of Wisconsin's Lodi Chapter of the IAT.  It is our local way of celebrating NTD on this day, but the Chapter is quite active in running monthly full moon hikes, birding hikes and we even host a Monday Morning Hike Group that meets weekly to travel in the local area for breakfast and a hike.

At first it was a modest hike and I remember the hot muggy day in June as well since the horse flies that were out in force. In recent years, with the addition of the 5K and 10K, run it has grown even more popular. Several of the participants I interviewed indicated that ran it last year, and undaunted by the hills came back for the fun and the scenery.

Making it family friendly
This is a donations only event and we hope it continues so that as many people as possible can enjoy with their families and friends without any barriers related to costs.  The sponsors were very generous this year as well.  I know of a few because even I won a door prize.  Mine included water bottles from REI and the Lodi Medical Clinic, tasty Slack Jams and Jellies, and corn from Lodi Canning.  I did have some envy for the first place finishers who won a coffee mug and treats.

Volunteers and members are key
The IAT this year is working hard to grow to 5,000 members and diversify the member in all categories but especially to attract a younger audience. An event like this brings out all sorts of volunteers. I found families filling up water bottles for the participants, high school students setting up cones, college students escorting the runners, seniors helping with registration, local retirees helping with water on the trail, kids making signs, local business owners cooking brats, athletes taking on the challenging hills. Yes, a little something for everyone in Lodi.

Experience through videos
One way you might consider promoting your own events during National Trails Day or everyday is with a video of the preparation before, during and after the event. Check out the videos we put together of this local event and see for yourself how the event went. Mark your calendar for National Trails Day, June 4 2011, and find an event near you so you too can volunteer, participate or just come and watch with a cup of coffee. If there isn't one, consider creating one yourself.

Volunteer video

Race video

If you search Youtube for National Trails Day you can find some other very interesting events across the country that took place on Saturday.What did you do for National Trails Day?

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