We're approaching year number three for the COVID-19 pandemic and are once again dealing with after-holiday spiking cases numbers with the quick spreading Omicron variant so what now? Does life shut down when it comes to having fun? No way, thanks to the Otsego Outdoors Winter Octet Challenge.

Last year, the 2020 Winter Octet Challenge was a big success with plenty of local residents participating and enjoying all the beauty that rural Otsego County has to offer with a variety of outdoor parks and state land to enjoy. The winner of last year's challenge was Tom Walsh of Worcester who was the first to complete the challenge. He is clearly a lover of the outdoors since he ended up completing the 12 trail challenge in just one day--that's 21.2 miles! Don't worry, you don't need to do what Walsh did. You can go at your own pace and when you want to.

Seasonal Octet challenges began through Otsego Outdoors last year and have been enjoyed by many in the local region. This challenge was created through a collaboration between Otsego 2000, the Otsego Land Trust, and Otsego County Conservation Association. We all know that the safest activities to enjoy are outdoor activities so with that in mind, here's what you need to know about this year's Winter Octet Challenge...

There are 13 featured trails to enjoy during this challenge. You can walk, snowshoe, cross-country ski, or bike on any of these trails (snow permitting). There is also an option to ice skate where it's designated. You successfully complete the challenge if you do 8 out of the 13 trails by March 19. Once you are finished, you just need to send in a form to get your official Otsego Winter Octet patch.

Otsego County is beautiful so it's time to stop moping around worrying about COVID and wondering what to do with yourself or your family. There is plenty of great outdoors to enjoy in our county and who knows? You just might discover some new places you haven't been to before with a desire to visit those places again.

Get all the information you need about this year's Winter Octet Challenge at otsegooutdoors.org/our-challenge. If you have questions, you can call 607-547-8881 or email outdoors@otsego2000.org.

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