With plenty of summer left and abundant natural space to discover, the Otsego Outdoors Summer Octet includes state forests, state parks, local parks, Otsego Land Trust properties, private property open to the public, and the “New Lisbon Ride” that links Gilbert Lake State Park and Texas Schoolhouse State Forest.
By completing eight activities before September 21, participants earn a free embroidered Summer Octet patch and get listed on the Otsego Outdoors Challenge Roster. Participants can head to otsegooutdoors.org to find the full range of ‘summer octet’ possibilities.
“The menu of challenges this summer offers many opportunities for people to enjoy the outdoors,” said Jeff O’Handley, program director for the Otsego County Conservation Association. “In addition to the hikes and bikes and berry picking, we hope some will join us in some of our dirty and wet invasive species activities.”
Destinations new to the Octet Challenge this year are Bear Swamp State Forest in Decatur, the Robert V. Woodruff Outdoor Learning Center in Jordanville, Emmons Pond Bog in Oneonta, and New Island Forest Trails in Catella Park, Oneonta. Not all destinations are located directly inside Otsego County’s borders, but organizers note all are within approximately 10 miles of the county.
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 “Otsego Outdoors Winter Octet Challenge” continues into March and includes trails through Otsego Land Trust locations the group’s volunteers work to keep open throughout the year.
Otsego Land Trust is a private, not-for-profit organization that works to preserve the distinctive rural character of the region by protecting working forests and farms, natural ecosystems, and scenic landscapes that define the county. Community volunteers, including the dozen members of the Trust’s board of directors, maintain the trails and gardens on its public access properties, plan community events, and promote educational programs. Volunteers also help with special projects as needed, including environmental research, clean-up, and monitoring.
The Trust provides free public access to 13 distinctive natural areas in the Otsego region. “Blueway” sites offer opportunities for hiking, paddling, snowshoeing, birdwatching, or simply enjoying the changing seasons. Brookwood Point Preserve just north of Cooperstown offers direct public access to the shoreline of Otsego Lake. Deowongo Island in Richfield is accessible only by non-motorized watercraft. The Parslow Road Preserve includes wetland trails along Oaks Creek, while the Lordsland Preserve in Roseboom has miles of trails through upland forests.
A Cooperstown Central School junior achieved his goal of running a marathon before his 16th birthday.
Fred Hodgson, who turns 16 Friday, Oct. 22, finished the Syracuse Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 17, in 3 hours, 55 minutes and 13 seconds. His time placed Hodgson 58th out of 178 runners. He placed first in his age bracket, but that was expected, he said.
“I was the youngest person in the race by about four years,” he said Monday.
Marketing efforts switching to recreational activities, including hiking, lake sports
By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
In response to the COVID crisis, many people have been seeking fun activities that can also be done safely with social distancing. Outdoor activities seems to be the natural solution and Otsego County has
plenty of outdoor activities to do for those inclined.
Cassandra Harrington, executive director of Destination Marketing, is well versed in outdoor activities for Otsego County. She goes kayaking and said Gilbert Lake State Park is “one of my favorite places to go
hiking.” She said she also plans on going skydiving with Just Jump at the Westville Airport.
So, when she was approached by people looking for things to do in Otsego County that are socially distanced and outdoors, she had the answer.
“During the pandemic, one of the trends people were seeking to do was outdoor activities,” Harrington said, explaining that Otsego County “has a ton of natural resources.”
Destination Marketing started an initiative called Cooperstown Naturally, which aims to introduce those in need of outdoor activities to the plethora of options that exist near Cooperstown and in Otsego County.
Some of these activities include biking, hiking, boating, camping, fishing and more.
WELLNESS CHALLENGE – Ongoing. Start the Spring right. Each week Leaf will issue 3 challenges to Do, Visit, or Find to get you out of the house. Snap a selfie, or a groupie and post it to their page to share the fun. Enter to win chance to win gift cards to local businesses. Complete 2 challenges each week for chance to win a bonus prize of a $75 gift card. Continues through 4/20. Presented by LEAF. 607-432-0090 or visit www.facebook.com/SpringWellnessChallenge/
OTSEGO OCTET – Feb.1 – Apr. 30. Explore local trails at the state parks, forests, and land trust sites. Once you’ve completed 8 of the 12 trails send in a form & $5 to receive the Otsego Octet Patch. Participants are encouraged to post pictures. Visit otsegooutdoors.org/our-challenge/ for info.
HISTORY PROGRAM – 7 p.m. “Ghost Towns of the Wild West: Madams, Miners, and Gunslingers” with Julien McRoberts. Free webinar, pre-registration required. Presented by Sharon Historical Society. Call 518-860-5513 or visit www.sharonhistoricalsocietyny.org to register.
DONATIONS – 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Weekdays. Check your closets for gently used artworks to donate to the CAA Spring Cleaning Bazaar. Support the local art association, clear some space at home. Drop off weekdays through March 5. Cooperstown Art Association, 22 Main St., Cooperstown. 607-547-9777 or visit www.cooperstownart.com
OUTDOORS CHALLENGE – 2 p.m. Teens meet to participate in LEAF’s Great Otsego Outdoors Challenge, the summer hiking challenge featuring an Otsego County trail each week. Total of 8 hikes with 4 bonus hikes. Meet at Club Odyssey, 80 Water St., Oneonta. 607-353-7143 or visit www.facebook.com/ClubOdysseyOneonta/
Shannon Kirch, manager of the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market. braves the cold for a paddle on Gilbert Lake to celebrate the launch of OtsegoOutdoors, a website listing all of the cycling, hiking and padding spots throughout the county. At right, Ellen Pope, Executive Director of Otsego 2000, gives visitors the first look at the new website, which goes live tomorrow. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
CONSERVATION TRAINING – Noon-3 p.m. Learn to map stands of Eastern Hemlock to volunteer with conservation services in the effort to counter the spread of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. Free, registration required. Mohican Farm, 7195 State Route 80, Cooperstown. Info, occainfo.org/calendar/hemlock-woolly-adelgid-finding-hemlock-stands/ or call (607) 282-4087