A red, white and blue participant in the 2019 version of the #10 Trail Challenge.

SAWYER — During the month of July, Chikaming Open Lands (COL) is partnering with The Rotary Club of Harbor Country, non-profit nature centers, township parks, county parks, the DNR and local colleges to bring you the the 2020 version of The #10 Trail Challenge.

Once hikers are out on one of the 10 trails (the list follows) look for a #10Trail Challenge picture frame selfie station, snap a pic and hashtag COL on Instagram with #10trail AND #chikamingopenlands. Don’t have Instagram? You can also tag COL on Facebook or email us the selfie pictures at col@chikamingopenlands.org. COL must receive selfie station pictures for participants to claim prizes (by submitting photos, participants give COL permission to share them on its website, Instagram page, Facebook page, or in print materials.

Frames will be out from July 1 to July 31 on trails at the following sites: Sarett Nature Center, 2300 N. Benton Center Road, Benton Harbor; Lake Michigan College, 2755 E. Napier Ave., Benton Harbor - hike on main trail to loop, the Selfie Station is located between trail marker 5 and 6; Warren Dunes State Park (parking at Floral Lane only - walk to Warren Dunes entrance, follow trail markers towards marker 13, Selfie Station will be on top of a split dune, take to the left; Tower Hill Camp and Retreat Center, 12173 Tower Hill Road, Sawyer; The Chris Thompson Memorial Preserve, 7550 Warren Woods Rd, Three Oaks; Galien River County Park, 17424 Red Arrow Hwy., New Buffalo - Selfie Station at the bottom of stairs of the canopy walk overlook; Burns Prairie Preserve, 18195 Mt. Zion Road, Galien; Jens Jensen Preserve, 6851 Parkway Drive, Sawyer; Bendix Woods County Park, 32132 IN-2, New Carlisle, Ind.; and Harbert Road Preserve, 5842 Harbert Road, Sawyer.

For those who hike all 10 trails the top prize is one $10 gift card to your choice of Patellie’s, David’s Delicatessan or The Peasant’s Pantry. Hiking any 3 to 9 trails makes you eligible to win one $5 gift card to either Infusco Coffee or Scoops Ice Cream. COL will contact all winners at the end of July and will send out gift cards in the mail, or gift cards can be picked up at the COL office.

Staff will not be available at the preserves. Please contact the COL office at (269) 405-1006 with any questions or concerns.

Chikaming Open Lands also is currently seeking input from the community via an online survey to help determine long-term conservation priorities and strategies for the future. The survey can be found at COL’s website, at chikamingopenlands.org/take-a-survey-protect-the-land.

COL is working to create a long-term conservation plan, which will function as a strategic guide to help identify and prioritize the land conservancy’s conservation efforts. The plan will define geographic focus areas, identify which types of land it is most important to protect, and determine how its conservation efforts can best provide public benefit.

Responses collected from the survey will reveal the conservation priorities of community members who live and recreate in southwest Berrien County.

“We felt it was critical to get community input in the early stages of this planning process,” said COL Executive Director Ryan Postema. “We need to know what our neighbors are thinking so we can direct resources for land conservation to the areas of highest priority and greatest benefit for the communities we serve.”

The survey takes about 5-10 minutes to complete, is anonymous, and will remain open through June 30, 2020.

Chikaming Open Lands is the local land conservancy dedicated to preserving the open spaces

and natural rural character of Southwest Berrien County, working to protect and restore native

plant and animal habitat, improve water quality, and permanently preserve ecologically significant forests, prairies and wetlands, as well as prime farmland and other open spaces. COL serves nine townships in southwest Berrien County, and has protected nearly 2,000

acres of open space since its founding in 1999.

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