Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) will announce the winners of 2016 Hiking Challenge – “The Sky’s the Limit” at the First Day Hike scheduled at 1:00 p.m., January 1 at Kellogg Environmental Center, 500 Hawthorne Ave., Derby.
One hundred sixty-eight people successfully hiked all 14 locations of “The Sky’s the Limit” Challenge that highlighted bodies of water: lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, canals, wetlands and Long Island Sound and they are eligible to receive a hand-crafted walking stick made by Connecticut Wood Carvers Association.
Fifty names will be drawn at 3:00 p.m. after the First Day Hike to determine the winners. Over 300 participants hiked at least 10 of the designated locations and received a hiking staff medallion and certificate.
“DEEP held this hiking competition for the second time this year that encouraged families and friends to enjoy Connecticut’s state parks and forests any time of the year,” said DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee. “We learned that people like to participate in friendly competition to win prizes and by the high number of hikers who joined in we know the program was a success.”
“The Sky’s the Limit” has taken on a life of its own. Participants have created letterboxes and geocaches to support the adventure.
This year showed how technology can be incorporated into the challenge by tracking your hike using an app. Some people are much more competitive than others – one man accomplished 10 hikes in 4 weeks.
“Some participants who carried their children the first year, now have toddlers who are walking to join the adventure,” said DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee. Or as someone wrote to us and said – ‘Sky’s the Limit’ renewed your mutual love for the outdoors and this beautiful state because of the challenges along the way’ — the hope is that people will continue their ‘adventure’ in 2017.”
Background on “The Sky’s the Limit”
Participants hiked any number of designated 14 state parks and forests in Connecticut throughout 2016 and took two photos – one of themselves at a state park or forest sign and one at each location they hiked. Photos were emailed to DEEP for verification. The program began in 2015 to encourage exploration of Connecticut’s State Parks and Forests and help people discover the unique historical, cultural and natural resources in the beautiful state of Connecticut.
The new challenge for 2017 will involve hiking to historic locations. Photos from the DEEP State Park archives are being posted on the website and participants will be asked to take current photos from the same location. For more information: www.ct.gov/deep/SkystheLimit.