The free eight-week program aimed at getting residents active and visiting local parks is in its third year. The Ottawa County Department of Public Health and the county’s parks department organize Step It Up!
Register online by April 2 at www.miottawa.org/StepitUp/. The challenge begins April 9.
There are weekly guided group walks and activities offered through the program.
New activities include biking, kayaking, trail running, disc golf and navigation. They were added this year at the suggestion of previous participants, county parks spokesperson Jessica VanGinhoven said.
Throughout the program’s eight weeks, participants can track their progress through an online step and activity tracker. By recording their efforts, participants can use a virtual trail through the Ottawa County GIS Department to see how far their efforts would have taken them along the Appalachian Trail.
As of this week, almost 500 people are registered for this year’s Step It Up! program, VanGinhoven said.
Sometimes people are nervous to venture out on their own, VanGinhoven said, and the program provides the opportunity to go with a group of people who might also be new and have a guide lead them.
“We’re hoping to have a great, positive experience for people so they keep coming back,” VanGinhoven said.
A grant secured by the Ottawa County Department of Public Health makes the program free of charge for participants.
The group walking schedule:
— 6 p.m. April 11: Grand Ravines south
— 6 p.m. April 19: Paw Paw east
— 10 a.m. April 21: New Richmond Park
— 10 a.m. April 28: Pigeon Creek Park
— 10 a.m. May 5: Bysterveld Park
— 6 p.m. May 8: Kirk Park
— 6 p.m. May 14: Allegan Sports Complex
— 6 p.m. May 16: Grand River Park
— 6 p.m. May 22: Crockery Creek Natural Area
— 10 a.m. June 2: Hemlock Crossing
To participate in the following group adventure opportunities, participants must be an active and registered Step It Up! participant:
— 2:30 p.m. April 14: Keep It Active Adventure Biking at Riley Trails
— 9:30 a.m. April 28: Keep It Active Adventure Trail Running at Pigeon Creek Park
— 6 p.m. May 12: Keep It Active Kayaking at Connor Bayou
— 6 p.m. May 18: Keep It Active Adventure Navigation at Van Buren Dunes
— 10 a.m. May 19: Keep It Active Disc Golf at Jaycee Park