Saturday was National Trails Day, and the city of Ridgefield celebrated by launching the 100 Miles in 100 Days challenge, encouraging people across Clark County to walk, run, hike, bike or paddle 100 miles between now and Sept. 14.
For those who are turning to the great outdoors to ease anxiety, get exercise and create summer memories — and for those who love a challenge — this fits the bill. It’s sponsored by the city of Ridgefield, but it’s open to anyone, anywhere on any trail, bike lane or waterway. Walk around your neighborhood or stroll down your local Main Street. It’s free to participate.
The event seems tailor-made for the COVID-19 era of social distancing, but it’s been in the works since November, said Ridgefield communications specialist Megan DeMoss.
“The timing really couldn’t have been better,” DeMoss said. “We’re actually really excited that we’re still able to do it, when we need people getting outside and enjoying our trails and natural resources.”
Although 100 Miles in 100 Days is similar to other events held in states across the country, this particular challenge is Ridgefield’s direct response to community input.
“We did a community survey last fall and a large thing that came out of it was that our residents really value trails,” DeMoss said. “So we thought, ‘Let’s come up with some kind of challenge where we can get people out and exploring those trails.’ ”
Ridgefield is indeed no slouch when it comes to natural beauty, with its 5,300 acres of protected wetlands, grasslands, forests and watery ecosystems. Although the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge’s trails are currently closed, the auto route remains open (sorry, miles traveled in motorized vehicles don’t count). However, Ridgefield’s scenic waterways are open to kayakers, canoers and stand-up paddleboarders, who are welcome to put in at the Port of Ridgefield and paddle Lake River to Bachelor Island.
If you prefer to appreciate natural beauty while standing firmly on dry land, there are plenty of other walkable gems in Ridgefield — city-owned parks and open spaces such as Abrams Park, Marsh Park, Ridgefield Woods and Osprey Point. Walkers can even log miles by following a route highlighting historic sites in downtown Ridgefield; visit ridgefieldwa.us/things-to-do/historic-walking-tour/ for a map.
Ridgefield city staff have been instrumental in getting Ridgefield’s trails on the map — literally.
A Ridgefield employee has been logging and tracking trail segments in the trail-finding app Strava for the past couple of months, DeMoss said.
“The details will show the length of the trail, the type of path, whether it is stroller or bike friendly, where to park, and what walkers can expect to see along the route,” DeMoss said.
If you want to log miles close to home, the 100 Miles in 100 Days website offers a fantastic resource for everyone from Sunday strollers to committed outdoor enthusiasts. There’s information about trails and parks in every corner of Clark County, including bike paths and paddling routes, plus details on where to rent kayaks, canoes and paddleboards. Find complete details and a link to register for the challenge at ridgefieldwa.us/things-to-do/community-events/100-in-100/.
After you register, you’ll be emailed a logbook. Log your miles as you go, and then turn in your completed book to the city of Ridgefield by Sept. 21. Everyone who completes a logbook will receive a finisher’s prize (a button pin that reads “I love Ridgefield trails”) and be entered in the grand raffle for a free one-year pass to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge or a free two-hour paddle from Alder Creek rentals. Overachievers can earn up to three extra raffle entries by posting on Facebook or Instagram with the tag #Ridgefield100in100, and T-shirts are available for a $5 donation, if ordered by June 30.
Completed logbooks should be submitted to the city of Ridgefield by 5 p.m. Sept. 21.
As for DeMoss, she’s eager to take up the challenge.
“I have a kayak, so I’m planning on putting down a lot of miles paddling,” DeMoss said.