February 3, 2010 > East Bay Parks are the trail to fitness
East Bay Parks are the trail to fitness
By Alissa Gwynn
Photos By Shelly Lewis
The East Bay Regional Park District is currently hosting their seventeenth annual Trails-to-Fitness Trails challenge, a self-guided hiking program that brought out nearly 8,000 participants last year in 2009. Partnered with Kaiser Permanente health maintenance organization, the park district aims to promote healthy lifestyles and enjoyable exercise through the program.
To complete the challenge, participants must hike five of the trails outlined in the booklet and keep an ongoing log after doing so. Out of the district's 65 parks, 10 will be used in the trails challenge: Alameda Creek Regional Trail, Briones Regional Park, Contra Loma Regional Park and the Delta De Anza Trail, Del Valle Regional Park, Diablo Foothills and Castle Rock, Iron Horse Regional Trail, Lake Chabot Regional Park, Miller Knox Regional Shoreline Park, Mission Peak Regional Preserve, and Wildcat Canyon Regional Park.
In each of these ten parks, there will be an easy, moderate, and difficult trail to cater to all levels of hiking abilities. Mission Peak and Wildcat Canyon, which offer a 350 degree view at their summits, are considered to be the most difficult peak climbs. However, less challenging paths are also available for family-friendly outings, and approximately 70 percent of the listed trails are wheelchair accessible.
This year, in celebration of the Park District's 75th Anniversary, the program will be free for all participants, and will include a T-shirt (limit two per household while supplies last), a digital guidebook, and a commemorative pin after completing the challenge. Ever since its inception seventeen years ago, the challenge has grown enormously; partly because of the increased promotion of healthy living, and partly because of the Park's partnership with Kaiser Permanente. Shelly Lewis, the Public Information Supervisor of East Bay Parks, says, "We have found that people are looking for healthy outdoor options, and this is a great way to get out in the parks and find out about the neighborhood around us."
Anybody interested in participating should visit www.ebparks.org, click on 'Trails Challenge' in the 'Features' section on the right side of the home page, and proceed as directed in order to register. This year all registrations will be completed online and participants will receive a confirmation e-mail with further maps, driving directions, hiking tips, etc.
Participants have until the end of December to complete their challenges and log them in afterwards. As in past years, the participants will use the honor system when completing the challenge; nobody is going to verify whether or not they actually hiked the trails they logged.
2010 Trails-to-Fitness Trails challenge
'Trails Challenge' in the 'Features' section