Ottawa & Allegan County, lace up your walking shoes & get ready for a free 6-week walking challenge.
Ottawa and Allegan Parks and Recreation and Department of Public Health are teaming up to bring the community another Step it Up! Walking Challenge this spring.
Parks Naturalist, Kelly Morrissey, leads a walking group at Paw Paw County Park in Holland. Last spring, over 800 participants walked 106,609.6 miles – four times around the world!
This spring, participants will “virtually walk” 240 miles along regional trails in Michigan. The challenge begins on Monday, April 3!
This free, 6-week program is designed to help participants spring into fitness and get moving after a cold winter. Participants of all fitness levels are invited to join – weekly prizes are available.
Optional group walks will be offered for those interested in getting their weekly steps in with a group while checking out Ottawa & Allegan County Parks (schedule below). Each walk will be led by a naturalist guide. Different pace groups will be available.
Participants will be able to track their individual progress online, including their cumulative steps taken. The Ottawa County GIS Department designed a map to watch progress along the virtual trail. “When you login to track your steps, you’ll be able to see the weekly goal markers and also track your individual progress. It was great to team up with GIS again to create an interactive component,” said Parks spokesperson Jessica VanGinhoven.
Ottawa County will also release its new and improved tracking system for participants that was developed over the winter. “Participants will be able to track their progress on a weekly basis, just like before, but we’ve added the option to track progress daily,” said VanGinhoven. “The tracking program is also mobile-friendly, so you can record your activity from your phone. These changes were made based on participant feedback and should make tracking activity much easier.”
The county is hoping for another successful year of the Step it Up program. “We were so pleased with the results of Step it Up last year,” said Ottawa County Department of Public Health educator, Amy Sheele. “It really motivated participants to get moving and visit more parks. Of the individuals that completed our program surveys, nearly 40% reported an increase in their level of physical activity from the beginning of the Step It Up Challenge to the end! The average participant walked 216 miles over seven weeks.”
Past participants also enjoyed the program. In a survey following the program walk participants reported:
• Great program to encourage people to exercise and use the county park system.
• I loved this program! It motivated me to get walking again! I moved back to Holland two years ago and I learned a lot about the parks in Ottawa County through this program! I will be buying a pass and keep visiting our parks! Thank you very much!
• It has helped us lose weight and feel so much better.
• Prior to this challenge my daily steps were closer to 5,000 and since doing program I’m between 7,000-10,000 and some days way more. It challenged me to park further away and keep pedometer with me when walking around my house for a true count of my steps. Thanks for the motivation.
Registration is now open- register today!
Registration closes April 10.
Group Walk Schedule
April 8: Pine Bend Park, 10-11 AM
April 8: Outdoor Discovery Center, 10-11 AM
April 13: New Richmond Bridge Park, 10-11 AM
April 13: Rosy Mound Natural Area, 5:30-6:30 PM
April 22: Riley Trails, 10-11 AM
April 22: Bysterveld Park, 10-11 AM
April 27: Grand Ravines (North), 5:30-6:30 PM
May 2: Hemlock Crossing, 5:30-6:30 PM
May 6: Kirk Park, 3-4 PM
May 8: Allegan Sports Complex, 10-11 AM
May 11: Connor Bayou 5:30-7 PM – This walk will be followed by a family-friendly party at the Connor Bayou cabin!
Ottawa County – Where You Belong
Operations, improvements and programs are funded by grants and a parks millage. If you own a $150,000 home, you pay $26 annually investing in opportunities for outdoor recreation and nature education today and for future generations. Thank you. Learn more about the 6,530 acres of park land in Ottawa County at miOttawa.org/Parks