Bolton Landing, NY – The Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) held its 9th annual Hike-A-Thon on July 5th, on a beautiful, perfect Lake George day. With a total of 22 groups and nearly 700 people registered, this marked a new record for the event, which started in 2013 to celebrate the organization’s 25th anniversary.
Always held on July 5th, the Hike-A-Thon is a watershed-wide event of simultaneous hikes and paddles that culminates with aerial photography of each group by Carl Heilman, II, aboard a helicopter piloted by Bruce Mowery of North Country HeliFlite. Photos from the event are being posted at lakegeorgehikeathon.org/photo-gallery and on Facebook @LakeGeorgeHikeAThon.
This year’s event included 22 organized groups, as well as 85 virtual registrants. The organized sites spanned the watershed and included LGLC preserves, NYS DEC trails, and partner sites – Wiawaka Center for Women, The Sembrich, Up Yonda Farm Environmental Education Center, and Silver Bay YMCA Conference and Family Retreat Center. The event’s After Party was held at the Bolton Community Center, with activities for kids, free root beer from the Adirondack Pub and Brewery, toys from Happy Jack’s, and giveaways from sponsors. HITS 95.9 provided a two-hour live broadcast from the site.
The 2020 Hike-A-Thon was all virtual due to the pandemic, with all participants doing their hike or paddle at a place and time of their choosing.
“This was a redemption year,” said Sarah Hoffman, LGLC Communications and Outreach Manager and organizer of the Hike-A-Thon. “The Hike-A-Thon embraces the community and togetherness of group hiking and paddles, which was largely lost last year with everyone off doing their own thing. But, we also appreciate the benefit of offering the virtual option so that those who aren’t currently in the area, or who are uncomfortable with gathering in a group, were still able to be part of the event as a virtual participant.”
The desire to get back to in-person outings was clear when 250 people registered within the first few hours of opening in March; by the end of the week that tally was nearly at 400, nearly 80% capacity.
In addition to hikes, the Hike-A-Thon’s organized sites included one paddle in Hague, and two easier sites – The Sembrich’s easy walk around their grounds, and a drive-up option at Prospect Mountain – as opportunities for those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to participate.
After organizing the first Lake George Hike-A-Thon in 2013 as a celebration of the LGLC’s 25th anniversary, the event has continued each year since to showcase the LGLC’s parks and preserves as free public resources, and to promote an appreciation for the outdoors and for the protection of the land that protects the lake. The event also promotes local businesses and communities, as it encourages participants to explore and shop before heading home.
In a survey conducted after the event, 90% of respondents were “very satisfied” with the event overall. 96% of respondents said they were likely or very likely to participate again, and 98% said they’d recommend it to a friend. 48% of respondents said they spent time after the event to eat, shop and/or visit a local attraction.
Participants also provided comments about the event:
Carol McCleery said, “Hiking in this area is one of the most wonderful outdoor activities. This event is a safe and easy way to introduce this great activity to visitors and locals alike. There are endless hiking options and a good future development area to draw more visitors and economic vitality to the area.”
Susan Brown said, “It’s a thrill to know there are so many hikers out exploring the LGLC properties. There’s a feeling of unity around our beautiful lake. It makes us all aware of the tremendous importance of preserving the land, keeping it in good condition and encouraging people to get out to enjoy the beauty and stay healthy.”
Sandy Chamberlin said, “So glad there was a drive-up option for Prospect Mountain! This way I was able to be part of the fun with the rest of our group!”
Laura Bakr said, “I love the camaraderie of like-minded people showing this visual sign of our support for Lake George and its tributaries. Protection of such resources is priceless. To the many supporters – Thank-you! I hope you continue to consider supporting the LGLC’s mission as we can collectively and responsibly share our beautiful Adirondack home with those who come to visit. I do hope the Hike-A-Thon continues as a visual reminder, that we as individuals make up a community, that takes great pride in caring for the Queen of American Lakes – Lake George.”
The Hike-A-Thon is a free public outreach event, made possible with the financial support of business sponsors and individuals who choose to donate with their registrations. The 2021 Hike-A-Thon partners and sponsors include: media sponsor The Lake George Mirror; Carl Heilman, II/Wild Visions, Inc.; Bruce Mowery of North Country HeliFlite; Town of Bolton; Life Well Lived by Beth Tiger; JUST water; Lake George RV Park; Stewart’s Shops; The Sembrich; Town of Hague; Adirondack Pub and Brewery; Blue Blaze Coffee Co.; Cedar Graphics; Camp David, Lake George; Connally Creative; Love is on Lake George; Rotary Club of Lake George; Staloff Brothers Custom Metal Fabrication; Adirondack Mountain Club; Arcurio Consulting; Clothier Planning and Consulting; Happy Jack’s Shops; and My Little Love Note.
The Hike-A-Thon will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2022, for which organizers will be seeking sponsors and more activities to make the After Party a bigger celebration. For more information about the Hike-A-Thon, including how to be a sponsor, visit https://lakegeorgehikeathon.org, or contact Sarah Hoffman at 518-644-9673, or email email@example.com. For news and updates, follow the Hike-A-Thon on Facebook at facebook.com/LakeGeorgeHikeAThon.