While volunteering on this important campaign for Issue 4, former MetroParks employee Angie Sullivan discovered something unsettling. “People just don’t know about the MetroParks,” Sullivan laments. “Most folks I talk to might be familiar with one or two parks they frequent, but when I tell them we have 25 facilities located throughout the county, they’re shocked.” Responses like those are the reason the Kettering resident decided to do something that would showcase all Five Rivers MetroParks has to offer – Sullivan, along with her fiancé Shane Sheldon, will hike to each MetroPark in just one week.
The couple will cover about 125 miles in approximately seven days, blogging, tweeting and snapping photos of the parks along the way. “We thought this would be a great way for people at home to take a virtual tour of all the MetroParks,” says Five Rivers MetroParks Outdoor Recreation Department Director Greg Brumitt. “It’s imperative during this election season that we make sure the voters know exactly what they get with a ‘yes’ vote – or what they’ll miss out on if they vote ‘no.’ Our park-wide festivals and entertainment events are fun, but if you just visit the parks during festivals, you’re not getting the whole picture. Park Trek will raise awareness of all our facilities in a context of nature and conservation, the core reasons why citizens founded the MetroParks in 1963.”
Park Trek started and will end in downtown Dayton. A kickoff celebration and press conference took place this past Saturday at the National City 2nd Street Market. Then, Sullivan and Sheldon commenced their Park Trek, heading to Eastwood, Huffman and Carriage Hill MetroParks. The next day, the couple traveled to Taylorsville, Aullwood Garden and Englewood MetroParks. Monday’s stops include Trotwood’s Wetland Mitigation Bank, then onto Germantown MetroPark. On Tuesday, the couple will hike to Twin Creek and Possum Creek MetroParks, followed by Cox Arboretum and Sugarcreek MetroParks on Wednesday. Hills & Dales, Sunrise and Wesleyan make up day six of Park Trek, and Sullivan and Sheldon wrap up the first-ever Five Rivers MetroPark facility circumnavigation at Wegerzyn Gardens, Island and Deeds Point MetroPark. When the couple arrives at Deeds Point at about 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 30, Sullivan, who is registered to vote in Montgomery County, will hike to the Board of Elections in downtown Dayton and cast her vote to “protect our parks.”
Sullivan and Sheldon say they understand the importance and unique value of Park Trek, and they are looking forward to getting to know the MetroParks in a new way as well as generate awareness about the park system. “I know what people might think when I tell them Shane and I are going to hike 125 miles in a week,” Sullivan laughs. “But we love taking on challenges like this. It took us five months to hike the 2,170-mile Appalachian Trail, so I think it’s safe to say we’re prepared for Park Trek.”
(from a post at the MetroParks 2009 Levy website)