Lee Ann and Rick Myers of Oneonta recently completed the Otsego Outdoors Fall Octet Challenge, marking the 5,000th trek made by participants in the Otsego 2000, Otsego Land Trust and Otsego County Conservation Association-led activity. Since the Octet Challenges began in February 2021, Otsego Outdoors’ mission has been to provide a comprehensive and searchable listing of every publicly accessible trail in Otsego County, helping residents and visitors enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
“As a result of our participation in the Fall Octet, we have added some hikes to our family favorites for sure—Texas School House State Forest and Forest of a Dozen Dads are among them. Otsego County and New York State have so much to offer,” said Rick Myers.
Myers and his wife, Lee Ann, were accompanied on several hikes by their children and grandchildren.
“It’s a wonderful way to spend quality family time together,” he added.
“This milestone illustrates both the vast array of outdoor spaces we have here in Otsego County and the desire of people to explore them. Congratulations to everyone who has participated since the first Octet challenge,” stated Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director.
The upcoming Otsego Outdoors Winter Octet Challenge, which offers 12 different activity options, has added two new trails and runs from December 12 to March 19. Otsego Land Trust’s Orange Trail, combined to make a 1.2-mile loop with the Blue Trail, is located at the Parslow Road Conservation Area in Oaksville. Additionally, the Glenn Waffle Memorial Nature Trail in Laurens, a 3.7-mile trail opening on January 6, offers hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Other sites for the challenge include four state parks, two state forests, the Clark Tower Trail, the Rogers Environmental Education Center, the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society Sanctuary and Fortin Park.
Participants can also earn credit toward a patch, won by completing the Octet, by taking part in First Day Hikes on January 1 at Glimmerglass State Park, Gilbert Lake State Park, the Rogers Environmental Education Center, and other outdoor events. Both tubing at Glimmerglass State Park, on Saturdays and Sundays in January and February, and weekly hikes led by the Susquehanna Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club on Tuesdays at 9:45 a.m. are open to the public.
“Being active outdoors in all seasons is great for both mental and physical health,” said Peg Odell, Otsego 2000’s program and communications director. “Dress warmly in layers, go solo or ask a friend or neighbor to join you, and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds us. We will be cheering you on.”
For more information on Otsego Outdoors or the Winter Octet Challenge, visit otsegooutdoors.org or call (607) 547-8881.