Hike or bike to a healthier new year with the East Bay Regional Park District's popular annual Trails Challenge, starting this month.
Now in its 28th year, the free program encourages residents to connect with the great outdoors, offering 20 trails for all levels of experience, and is part of the worldwide Healthy Parks Healthy People (HPHP) movement which promotes "the connection between a healthy green environment and community health."
"While we continue to navigate the challenges of COVID-19, one thing has become very clear, parks are essential," officials said. "They play a vital role in sustaining our physical, mental, and spiritual health. We appreciate your support in loving and protecting this beautiful system of parklands and shorelines in Alameda and Contra Costa counties."
Guidebooks can be found on EBRPD's Trails Challenge webpage, and will be available (along with t-shirts) outside visitor centers on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. while supplies last (one shirt per person and one guidebook per family).
Park visitors are asked to wear face masks and observe social distancing, and may also notice some recent changes.
Last week, the district reimplemented fees for parking, camping, fishing, and boat launching at regional parks "to support funding of the many programs, services and amenities slated to reopen next year."
In order to provide free and easy public access during the COVID-19 pandemic, the district waived all fee collections in 2020.
Fees for seasonal and recreational activities, services and amenities that may reopen later this year include swimming, reservable picnic areas and recreational programs.