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Sat, Dec. 07

8th annual Hiking Spree Kick-off Sept. 5 at the Highlands Center

Courtesy<br>Pat Gulley, Highlands Center Naturalist, leads a group on one of the moderate Highlands Center hiking trails.

Courtesy<br>Pat Gulley, Highlands Center Naturalist, leads a group on one of the moderate Highlands Center hiking trails.

Hiking Spree enthusiasts will start their morning at the Highlands Center, 1375 S. Walker Road in Prescott, at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, for the kick-off presentation of this year's Hiking Spree trail selection, followed by the 10 a.m. kick-off hike.

The presentation by Nigel Reynolds (Highlands Center volunteer and Hiking Spree map maker) and the Prescott National Forest, will give hikers details about the spree, highlighting 2015 trails, including new sections of the Prescott Circle Trail. Continental breakfast will be included, and there is no fee to attend. Early birds can also hike at 7:30 a.m., before the presentation.

The Prescott National Forest and the city of Prescott have been working over the past several years to bring new adventures to Prescott residents through trail exploration. Over seven miles of city trails have been added since last year's hiking spree, including Badger Mountain, a new Embry Riddle trail, and Longview, which contributes to the near completion of the Prescott Circle Trail. These new trails are included in this year's wide variety of hikes and will take participants to places they have never been before.

If participants hike at least eight of the 12 trails between Sept. 5 and Dec. 1, they can enter into a drawing for a $100 gift card to the Hike Shack.

Trails consist of various skills but at least eight are fine for any hiker, and you do not have to complete the hike to count it.

Entry for the drawing will close on Dec. 1, and a winning name will be drawn for the $100 gift certificate to the Hike Shack. Hikers can pick up forms at the kickoff event, or at the Highlands Center's Benson Family Nature Store, Hike Shack or the Prescott National Forest Offices on Cortez Street.

Several of the hikes this year have been highlighted for families, and are a wonderful way for new and avid hikers alike to explore new trails in the mild autumn weather. Trail maps will be provided highlighting interesting points along the way.

The 2015 maps will be published on, and past year's maps are available. Printed color maps will be available at the Highlands Center for $10. Black and white copies will be available at the Prescott National Forest Cortez Street office and at the Hike Shack. Once hikes are complete, participants are able to purchase a special hiking medallion for their hiking stick for $5.

For information, call 928-776-9550.

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