Group urges outside activities

In an effort to promote outdoor activities, Otsego Outdoors has launched a winter challenge, the Otsego Octet.

The program is designed to encourage people to enjoy winter activities, and will result in participants who complete the octet — eight of 12 featured trails — by the deadline, getting a special patch. 

“We challenge you to embrace the great wintry outdoors and discover the beauty of Otsego County in the snow,” reads a description on the group’s website. “Whether you are hiking, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing, our parks and forests offer a glimpse into the natural beauty that surrounds us.”

“During COVID-19, many of us are looking for places to explore close to home,” Ellen Pope, executive director of Otsego 2000, said in a media release. “The Otsego Octet program highlights some of the many places that people can enjoy the outdoors here in Otsego County.”

The challenge features destinations to hike, cross-country ski and snowshoe.

Otsego County’s four state parks are featured along with lesser-known destinations, the release said.

The challenge opened Feb. 1, and runs through April 30. 

“Participants are also encouraged to post photos of their activities with the tags #otsegooctet and #otsegooutdoors,” the release said.

The featured destinations include four state parks: Betty and Wilbur Davis State Park, Glimmerglass State Park, Robert V. Riddell State Park and Gilbert Lake State Park. Other properties include: forests (Arnold Lake State Forest, Forest of the Dozen Dads, Texas Schoolhouse State Forest), Otsego Land Trust sites (Lordsland Preserve and Parlsow Road Conservation Area), Fortin Park and the Goodyear Lake Waterway Access.

Go to otsegooutdoors.org for information about the participating trails,  as well as winter safety tips and trail etiquette.

Otsego Octet forms are also available at otsegooutdoors.org, or by calling 607-547-8881 or sending an email to outdoors@otsego2000.org.

There is a $5 fee per patch.

A summer challenge will be announced in May.

Started in 2017 as a way of promoting the county’s outdoor attractions on one dedicated platform, Otsego Outdoors is a collaboration between Otsego 2000, the Otsego Land Trust and the Otsego County Conservation Association. 

Greg Klein, staff writer, can be reached at gklein@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7218.

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