Bolton Landing, NY – The Lake George Land Conservancy’s (LGLC) annual blockbuster event, the Lake George Hike-A-Thon, took place on July 5, 2019, with nearly 550 hikers, paddlers, and volunteers all taking part. Seven years in, the event continues to show strong support from participants as well as sponsors.
The LGLC put out a survey after the event to get feedback from participants. Of 70 entries received to date, 96% said they were “very satisfied” with the Hike-A-Thon, and 97% said they are “very likely” to participate again.
The morning event included 17 different hikes and paddles around Lake George that occurred simultaneously, each choreographed to reach a specific location in time to greet a helicopter flown by Bruce Mowery of North Country Heliflite. The helicopter’s passengers included photographer Carl Heilman, II, who snapped shots of the cheering groups before flying on to the next site.
While the goal of the event is to promote the lands that have been protected by the LGLC and its partners in the watershed, the helicopter is what many participants look forward to and remember most, especially the kids. As one participant said in the event’s survey, “the helicopter is ALWAYS THE BEST!”
The helicopter fly-over has become iconic of the Hike-A-Thon. This year’s event t-shirt design included an image of the helicopter, which was well received.
“I’ve heard from a lot of participants who told me they love that the helicopter was included on this year’s shirt,” said LGLC Communications and Outreach Manager Sarah Hoffman, who is also the main organizer of the event. “Bruce and Carl both donate their time and have been part of the event since its first year in 2013. They, and the helicopter itself, are truly our event celebrities and we are so grateful for their support.”
This year’s Hike-A-Thon also included a new element, the After Party, which was held at the Festival Commons at the Charles R. Wood Park in Lake George Village from 11 am to 3 pm. Approximately 250 participants and members of the public gathered at the Commons after their hike or paddle to swap stories, purchase merchandise, play games, and enjoy a cold beer or root beer donated by the Adirondack Pub and Brewery, and ice cream donated by Stewart’s Shops. Guests were also treated to an up-close look at the helicopter, which landed on site around 12:30 pm, and visit with Carl Heilman.
After Party entertainment was provided by DJ Mike DuBray who was there with the Regional Radio Group’s 98.5 WCKM van, playing music and broadcasting live during the event.
Always scheduled for July 5th, the Hike-A-Thon is a free public event that encourages participation from all ages, abilities and backgrounds to come out and explore the land that surrounds Lake George. Most of the properties included in the Hike-A-Thon are either owned or managed by the LGLC; others are partner sites that are managed by organizations that share the LGLC’s goal of protecting the land that protects the lake.
“Our primary goal is to get people out,” Hoffman said, “and see the land firsthand. The Hike-A-Thon provides the opportunity for people who may not otherwise feel comfortable hiking on their own, or maybe never knew about some of these places. Instead of being told how great it is to be out in the woods, or to paddle around a quiet marsh or pond, they get to experience it for themselves and learn about why its protection is important.”
A healthy forest, complete with wetlands, vernal pools, and diverse vegetation, is the most effective tool available to protect Lake George. By permanently conserving large areas of healthy forests, whole ecosystems can thrive, which in turn naturally prevents stormwater issues, reduces the amount of fertilizers and road salt entering the lake, and protects the beauty of Lake George. Recreational trails on protected land provide access to the public to explore these lands and build an appreciation for its protection.
The Hike-A-Thon is made possible with the financial support of business sponsors and individuals who choose to donate with their registrations. The 2019 Hike-A-Thon top sponsors included the Town of Bolton; Angels at Lakeshore Gallery; Candlelight Cottages; Hudson Headwaters Health Network; Lake George RV Park; and the Town of Hague. Major in-kind sponsors included the Lake George Mirror, as the event’s media sponsor; Carl Heilman, II/Wild Visions, Inc.; Bruce Mowery of North Country HeliFlite; Adirondack Pub and Brewery; JUST water; Stewart’s Shops; and 98.5 WCKM. The After Party was also supported by Lake George Village and Warren County.
Next year’s Hike-A-Thon is scheduled for Sunday, July 5, 2020, and organizers are anticipating 20 sites to choose from, the most that has ever been offered. Early-bird registration will open Monday, March 2, 2020, and anyone interested in participating is encouraged to register early. The registration process is getting more and more competitive as people vie for the most popular sites. This year, five sites filled up in just 24 hours.
More information about the Lake George Hike-A-Thon and photos from this year’s event, can be found on Facebook, @ LakeGeorgeHikeAThon, or the event website, lakegeorgehikeathon.org. Questions can also be directed to Sarah Hoffman, 518-644-9673 or email email@example.com.
Kristen Handler said, “I just wanted to send a note of thanks for all your effort on the Hike-A-Thon. This was my family’s first experience with LGLC and I couldn’t be more impressed. Every detail was accounted for and it’s clear quite a bit of logistics were needed to create such a successful event. When I was in college, I visited LG on vacation, and fell in love with the area. I’m so very grateful for your work in protecting the land.”
Anonymous said, “For lovers of Lake George, a hike to one of its surrounding hills with beautiful venues is essential. The “lake” as we know is also the land. What would Lake George be if it weren’t for the mountains that surround it!”
Lorraine Plauth said, “The Hike-A-Thon is an excellent way of sharing what the LGLC does and raising awareness of how many preserves there are. I hike in the Lake George area a lot and hiking Pole Hill Pond trail was a new hike for me. Without the Hike-A-Thon, I may not have done that hike. I will be back again and will bring my hiking friends. Hopefully others who went to different preserves will do the same with a new awareness of what LGLC has to offer.”
Terra Wedman said, “I use the LGLC lands for recreation all year long. I participate and will continue to do so as thanks for all the work they do to keep their lands clean, safe, and accessible to the public. And the water too. As a local business owner, we rely heavily on the summer tourism season to help boost our income. If we don’t take care of our natural resources, people will no longer want to visit the area.”
Susan Waterhouse said, “We have attended all 7 Hike-A-Thon events. Our family loves this event, We are working on doing as many different hikes as we can. This event is helping our kids learn to love conservation of lake George.”
Anonymous said, “The Hike-A-Thon is a great opportunity to show off the lands around Lake George and how they connect and protect the waters. It is also a chance to socialize briefly with like-minded people, some of whom are locals, some of whom are seasonal and some of whom are visitors. I have done this regularly and will do it again and appreciate the sponsors whose businesses I try to patronize.”