Walktober in The Last Green Valley: Opportunities and Gratitude
October is here and with it comes a full month of opportunities to get out and enjoy the glorious fall season. For 30 years The Last Green Valley has been offering up a foliage season of walks, hikes, paddles, events and experiences. This year Walktober kicked off Sept. 19 to welcome in the fall equinox, and we are three weeks into the program which continues to Nov. 1.
The best way to learn more about Walktober 2020 schedule is to go to the online Walktober calendar on the TLGV website. New walks are still being added, and the calendar also lists any updates or cancellations. It can be found at:
When you go to the online Walktober calendar, you’ll want to look first at the list of ongoing events that provide details on local events and virtual walks happening throughout Walktober. Both Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm and Fort Hill Farm have corn maze adventures and several local restaurants are providing special discounts for Walktober participants.
After checking out the ongoing events and virtual walks you can find the daily walks and happenings by scrolling down to the week of Sept. 28 and then down each week to the week of Oct. 26. Please note that many of the walks require advance registration, so look carefully at the information for each walk and activity. Also, remember to bring and wear your mask.
Walktober began 30 years ago as Walking Weekend and from the start it has been a partnership. Meant to show federal officials why the region was worthy of a national heritage corridor designation, the first Walking Weekend had more than 22 adventures. This Walktober is not exactly what TLGV envisioned to celebrate 30 years. But once again partners have helped put together a program that shines a light on all that makes this region special.
A look through the calendar will find several partner organizations that have again stepped up to offer multiple opportunities, walks, hikes and experiences. Thanks go out to the Norwich Historical Society, the Mill Museum, the Eastern Connecticut Railroad Museum, Friends of Goodwin Forest and Connecticut Forest and Park Association, and the Wyndham Land Trust for again providing so many opportunities throughout the weeks of Walktober.
We are blessed to live in a region rich in agriculture and local farms providing fresh healthy products. Up to a dozen farmers’ markets are scheduled each week and you’ll find all them listed with links to their individual websites.
During Walktober TLGV offered up its annual Tastes of the Valley event as a Harvest Tour of the region with four different area restaurants offering a unique 3 course meal with products purchased from area farms and orchards. Each of the meals sold out with a total of 400 served and proceeds benefiting participating farms and restaurants.
Most of the events in Walktober are free, but a few require a fee. Many of those fee events are fundraisers for local nonprofits. Tackle the Trail is one of the Quinebaug Valley Community College Foundation’s biggest fundraisers.
One of the different and family-fun events is the Great Avalonia Trail Trek from Oct. 17 – 25. Sponsored by the Avalonia Land Conservancy, this is a fundraiser event with all proceeds and registration fees going to help Avalonia preserve land. Registration is available for adults, youth and families with hiking and running option available at all the Avalonia Preserves. More information on the Great Avalonia Trail Trek can be found in the Walktober guide and at www.avalonia.org.
Northeast Opportunities for Wellness has launched its Month of Miles challenge. There are no registration fees, but it’s an effort by NOW to get us all moving, You can find more info in the Walktober guide and at nowinmotion.org.
Despite the challenges of organizing public events during a pandemic, many TLGV partner organizations, members, rangers and friends are helping TLGV celebrate 30 years of Walktober. They have organized interesting walks, hikes, virtual tours and events for both residents and visitors to the National Heritage Corridor. The virtual tours enjoyed from the comfort of your home will also be available for viewing on the TLGV website throughout Walktober and beyond.
We are lucky to live in our very own home-grown National Park. October is a time when our region shines with the hills and trees ablaze and the bounty of the harvest in both field and forest available for our enjoyment. I hope you’ll join me and the many others who enjoy Walktober in The Last Green Valley. Together let us enjoy, care for and pass it on.
Bill Reid is the Chief Ranger of The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor and has lived in the region for more than 35 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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