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Friday, March 27, 2020

Campbell County Trail Passport is the Perfect Way to Practice 'Social Distancing'

Check some trails off your Campbell County Trail Passport this Spring!

By Jessie Eden

As you're trying to figure out different outdoor activities that still follow the rule of 'social distancing', consider a new project from the Campbell County Extension Service.

Although some parks may be closed due to the quarantine efforts, the surrounding trails are still open and are the perfect chance for you to get some fresh air and exercise and explore our beautiful county.

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The Campbell County Trail Passport is a compilation of trails across Campbell County. Organized by the Campbell County Extension at UK, this nifty website lists all the trails in Campbell County with useful maps that also include the levels of difficulty for each trail. Ranging from easy to more difficult, there are trails for everyone.

Highland Hills Park, Fort Thomas

There is even an interactive component to the trails. The Campbell County Trail Passport encourages hikers to share their photos by emailing or on social media with #hikecampbellcountyky.

A Wide Variety:
There are so many different types within just one county. DJ Skully, an agent with UK and the Campbell County Extension, helped to flesh out the details for the Passport project and he said the wide variety of trails is his favorite part."Bellevue Beach Park has the diversity between different areas, you have different areas from urban to environmental focus at the Campbell County Environmental Education Center or in Melbourne, a fully immersive experience. There is a different flavor and culture that I didn't know existed in our county."

Bellevue Beach Park, Bellevue

How Did This Idea Come About?
It was born from a dedication to the great outdoors and several environmental departments working together. Fort Thomas Recreation's assistant Katie Spicer, who likes to hike, brought the idea up to DJ. "I loved the idea but thought 'let's do it on a larger scale'. Campbell County is unique with a lot of municipalities. Every group has people so we got those people together to discuss physical wellbeing exploration and wellbeing with an urban and rural interface."

Katie thought of the idea because of her love of the outdoors. "Hiking is important to me. I really enjoy it and I like to find different places to go and different terrain to try. I was interested in the idea of people sharing their favorite places to hike and sharing all the trails in Campbell County. I thought it needed to all be in one location and easy to find. The idea of kind of putting a challenge on it is to get encourage people to get out."

Katie knew DJ would have the right connections to bring the project to life."The one central organization is the Campbell County Extension Office and DJ is very knowledgeable in all the different outdoor areas that we have and the different parks. He has great contacts too and he was all in. He made things happen. He's a wealth of information!"

So, in February 2019, there were several meetings with recreation departments across Campbell County's municipalities and the Passport project was born. "We had four meetings to discuss the parks and trails. Kyle Snyder with Kenton County created digital maps for 18 parks, a total of over 40 miles of walking and hiking trails. It's so neat."

Designing the Maps:
After the trails were identified, it was up to Kyle Snyder, a geospatial data specialist with the LINK-GIS Partnership/PDS Planning and Development Services of Kenton County. It was his job to bring the trails to life in a graphic design type of way so that the information is easily accessible and understood...but the design part had its own challenges. "These parks are all quite different in size (AJ Jolly is 950 acres and several parks are just 2 or 3 acres)," said Kyle.
"Representing each park on 8.5 x 11 maps with the same look and feel was a challenge. 

Frederick's Landing, Wilder

"The trails are the key assets that we highlighting. Representing them in a way that will help the park visitor use the trail system was the most important aspect of the map. There are other things like access to water, parking  and  restrooms that are also important  and we represented these features as well."  

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