July 13, 2023

More Hikers Participated in Sustainability Committee's Trail Challenge

Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park (City Photo/Darrell Shoemaker)




RAPID CITY, SD—A total of 126 hikers participated in the annual Earth Day Trail Challenge in May and June.  Despite weather conditions, event organizers were pleased with the increased level of interest and participation.

            This year’s number was an increase over the 100 participants from the 2022 Trail Challenge and a considerable spike over the 50 taking part in the 2021 Challenge event.  The Trail Challenge is hosted by the City’s Sustainability Committee.

          Event organizers noted the biggest challenge for hikers this year came from overcoming the area’s weather conditions rather than the mastering the trails.

           The event was originally scheduled through May but was extended through the month of June due to May’s persistent rainy conditions impacting trail conditions.  The rainy weather conditions continued into much of June.

            “The weather really affected participation in May as the rains impacted trail conditions and dampened spirits and enthusiasm,” said Sustainability Committee member Ria Hannon.  “It was a really wet season, but with the extension of the Challenge into June, we ended up with a good turnout. We will definitely be doing it again next year.”

          Sustainability Committee member Lysann Zeller said extending the Challenge would allow for increased participation and address impacts of weather conditions.

          “At the end of May, I think we only had two dozen participants so extending the Challenge to the end of June definitely worked out well,” said Zeller.  “We may opt for the longer time frame in the future to give more people the opportunity to participate, especially since the weather is unpredictable in the spring.”

          The Rapid City Earth Day Trail Challenge tasked the public to hike each of three local trails: Birdhouse on the Skyline Wilderness Trail System, Founders Valley on the Hansen-Larson Memorial Trail System and the Nature Trail at the Outdoor Campus West. 

           Along each trail, hikers were tasked to locate a Rapid City Earth Day Trail Challenge sign and take a selfie with the sign in the photo.  Upon completion of all three trails, hikers were advised to show the selfies and pick up a Rapid City Earth Day pin at the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks’ Outdoor Campus West

            As part of the challenge, hikers were also encouraged to pick up any litter or garbage encountered on the trails.


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