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Springtime means new Octet Challenge!

You might need your good mud boots, but it’s time to get out there to hike Otsego County!

After more than 150 people signed up for its Winter Challenge, Otsego Outdoors is offering its first-ever Spring Octet Challenge – featuring trails, paddling, and pedaling throughout the county.

“This Challenge encourages all of us to embrace all that an Otsego County spring has to offer,” said Peg Odell, program and communications manager for Otsego 2000. “Along with snow, rain, sun, and mud, there will be spring peepers, wildflowers, and new growth.”

The Spring Octet is a collaborative effort of Otsego 2000, the Otsego Land Trust, and the Otsego County Conservation Association. The program connects people with year-round opportunities to enjoy the outdoors throughout Otsego County.

For the Spring Challenge, participants can choose from trails at State Parks (Glimmerglass, Gilbert Lake), State Forests (Texas Schoolhouse, Basswood Pond), Otsego Land Trust properties (Lordsland Preserve and Fetterley Forest), an Oneonta Park (Wilber Park), County Forests (Forest of a Dozen Dads and Van Cleft Trail) and private property open to the public (Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society Sanctuary, College Camp, Clark Tower Trails). There are also paddling options and a bike route from Oneonta to Otego and back.

By completing eight activities between March 20 and June 20, people can earn a free embroidered Spring Octet patch and be listed on the online Otsego Outdoors Challenge Roster.

“The new Blue Trail at Lordsland Preserve is a great place to explore in the spring,” said Alison Lord, an Otsego Land Trust Board Member who has participated in Octet Challenges. “It starts at Doc Ahlers Road and winds through the old orchard to the east side of the beaver pond. You can feel spring happening all around you on this walk with budding trees and nesting birds everywhere.” At Lordsland, in Roseboom, new trail kiosks were installed and the Blue (East) Trail was blazed using funds raised by teenager Henry Horvath for Otsego Outdoors. A ceremony to open the new trail is scheduled for April 24.

Destinations new to the Octet Challenge are the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society Sanctuary overlooking Oneonta, and SUNY Oneonta’s College Camp. Otsego Outdoors also is promoting volunteer opportunities and events by the Otsego County Conservation Association and the Otsego Land Trust as well as I Love My Park Day on May 7, the Rotary District 7170 Susquehanna River Paddle in May, and the Butternut Valley Alliance’s On the Trail of Art in Basswood Pond State Forest June 11-12. People have the option of attending an outdoor event or a trail work day as one of their Octet activities.

“Whether it’s taking a walk by yourself or with a group, helping to clear a trail or remove invasive species, there are many ways to enjoy the outdoors,” said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director. “We are thrilled with the number of people who have participated in past Octet Challenges and look forward to seeing this program grow.”

To participate in the Otsego Outdoors Spring Octet, go to for information on the featured trails and an activity log form. The website also lists upcoming trail work days and outdoors events. Anyone with questions about the program or suggestions for activities to include in future challenges can call 607-547-8881 or email Learn more about the trails around the area at



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