As Athens enters the full swing of fall, there’s an endless number of outdoor recreational activities.
Strouds Run State Park will hold its first Happy Trails Day, which will be a local celebration of Ohio’s Year of the Trails. Experts and enthusiasts will be on hand to introduce people to a variety of free recreational activities and places. Attendees will have the opportunity to hike, bike, kayak, canoe, ride or run the trails of Strouds Run State Park on Saturday.
In Athens, there are many different varieties of trails, and to Anna Spittler, the event coordinator, Athens County wanted to highlight that and celebrate a day dedicated to the trails and outdoor recreational activities.
“‘Happy trails’ is kind of an old-school saying of ‘have a good day’ when you’re out hiking,” Spittler said. “It’s like, ‘Go out and enjoy yourself.’”
Happy Trails Day will feature on-foot activities, biking and water activities. Many of the free excursions are being led and sponsored by different organizations that want to guide and facilitate the way for people who have never been exposed to some of these activities.
“We are all recreational enthusiasts, and we wanted to do this because this is our demographic of people: people who enjoy the trails,” Spittler said. “Oftentimes, people who are doing recreation don’t really have it accessible to be shown technique and the proper way to do things, but I think people who are already leading in the community are really wanting to teach those things.”
Rob Delach, the community communications leader for the event, recognizes that having these kinds of activities is generally a part of each organization’s mission.
“The trail running club’s goal is to get people running and get them on the trails,” Delach said. “They’re glad to do this, and they want to do this, because it’s a good opportunity for the clubs to possibly get new people involved.”
Michael Owen will lead one of those group runs through his organization, Southeast Ohio Trail Runners. He hopes to increase trail running in the area and is excited that Happy Trails Day can provide that.
“It’s great that a bunch of trail lovers can get together and enjoy the amazing trails we have in our county,” Owen said. “Whether people join us for the group run or participate in one of the other trail outings during the day, everyone will be out there enjoying the outdoors and trails.”