May 2021 newsletter and updates

Here’s the May-June 2021 club newsletter, edited for the web. Club members receive the full newsletter immediately upon publication. Membership for the remainder of 2021 is FREE, so download the application and mail it to the Post Office box or email it to netrailblazers@gmail.com.

Sandy has a lot to say in this newsletter, such as having more spur-of-the-moment walks, like the one she’s leading next week on Thursday, May 13th at 10 a.m. on one of our new Seasonal Walks – the Wabash Trace.  Meet 15 minutes early in the parking lot of the Iowa West Foundation Trailhead just down the street from the Tastee Treet at 13996 Wabash Ave in Council Bluffs. The parking lot is at the intersection of South Omaha Bridge Road and Harry Langdon Avenue. The Wabash Trace does ask for a $2 fee to be deposited into the fee box for each walker using the Trace.

Sandy isn’t collecting any money for this walk – if you’re a Credit Walker, be sure to stop in at the Tastee Treet after the walk to pay your $3 and get your book(s) stamped.

Or, register via the Online Start Box! Directions on how to use the Online Start Box are now on our website.  The Online Start Box is really handy when you want to do the Omaha Downtown and Hanscom Park walks – no more driving down to the physical start box and then driving back to the places where the walks start! And of course, the only way you can register for the Veterans and Libraries Walk is via the Online Start Box. 

Finally, club president Steve wants everyone to know that the Free Park Day Walk at Mahoney State Park on Saturday, May 15th is now offering 5k and 6k loops, an increase of 1 kilometer of walking. Also, the club will be collecting cash donations for the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation’s Walk, Run and Roll event. There will be a donations box at the Start Table. Remember – if you register online, you’ll just check in, deposit your payment and take a map – in and out in 3 minutes or less!

Mid-March 2021 Updates

Our March-April 2021 Newsletter went out to members last week. What’s that, you say? How do I become a member and get all the news as it happens? Well, fear no more: until December 31, 2021, membership in the club is FREE! Fill out and send in this form without attaching a check and you’re all set.

The newsletter talks about “National Walking Week” which takes place from April 1st through April 7th, with April 7th being “National Walking Day”. We’ve got six, count them, 6 free walks for you! Since April 4th falls on Easter Sunday, we won’t be meeting to walk, but be sure to post any pictures of you (and family) walking that day on a special post on our Facebook page.  (It’s not up yet, but you’ll know it when you see it.)

Free walks means no AVA/IVV Credit, so leave your books at home. Two of the walks have fees imposed by the locale, so be aware of those fees before you come. Also, COVID-19 protocols are still in place – that means masks while registering and when within 6′ of someone outside of your household. Arrive 15 minutes early to take care of paperwork.

All of these are 5k walks, except Downtown Omaha, which is a 6k. Families and leashed dogs welcome and all trails are stroller friendly.

  • Thursday, April 1st, 5 p.m.  – Prairie Queen Recreation Area – meet in the SE parking lot closest to Werner Park on Lincoln Avenue.
  • Friday, April 2nd, 1 p.m. – Wabash Trace Trailhead at 4102 Harry Langdon Blvd, Council Bluffs, IA 51503. $2 per walker fee to Southwest Iowa Nature Trails Project, Inc.  Out-and-back walk.
  • Saturday, April 3rd, 10 a.m. – Downtown Omaha – meet at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge Street, in the Discovery Garden area.
  • Monday, April 5th, 5 p.m. – Walnut Creek Recreation Area – meet in the parking area near the playground.
  • Tuesday, April 6th, 4 p.m. – Lake Manawa Dream Playground – meet in the parking area. $5 vehicle entrance fee for out-of-state plates.
  • Wednesday, April 7th, 1 p.m. – Chalco Hills Recreation Area – meet in the south parking lot (Highway 370 Access).

With all this walking, you’ll be ready for our regular April 10th Bockfest 5k and 10k Walk, right? Details on our 2021 Walk Calendar page.

Late January 2021 updates

  1. We’re getting out to stretch our legs on Friday, January 29th at Prairie Queen Recreation Area by Werner Park! This is a FREE walk and is not eligible for AVV/IVV Credit, so leave your books and your money at home! Online registration is REQUIRED at https://forms.gle/ekcFfZxMcsaP8fAVA We’ll start walking promptly at 2 p.m. on a 5k group walk around the lake, so arrive a bit earlier to check-in. COVID-19 protocols are in effect: masks must be worn while gathering and whenever within 6′ of someone outside your household.  Take Hwy 370 to S. 126th Street, go past Werner Park to the Lincoln Road roundabout and then use the 3rd exit to go west one block to the parking lot from where we’ll be starting.  Please dress for the weather. Don’t count on the sidewalk around the lake being shoveled!
  2. We will NOT have our regular monthly club meeting on February 1st. No in-person club meetings have been scheduled at this time.
  3. We’ve had to make a change to our March 6th Soup Walk this year – it’s more like a “No Soup for You!” Walk. ? We won’t be able to share soup with each other, but that just means more for those people depending on local food banks for a meal, right? We’ve asked for chicken- or beef-based soups in the past, but we’re asking for 2 cans of hearty soups – think of meal substitutes – of any flavor. The local food banks that we’re supporting are the St. Columbkille/Tri-City Food Pantry and the New Visions Men’s Shelter in Council Bluffs. Start Point and times have not changed. See our 2021 Walk Calendar page for details.

Welcome to 2021!

Our New Year’s resolution for 2021? To offer great walks and to make new friends! Club membership in 2021 is FREE! Download the form and either email the completed form to netrailblazers@gmail.com or print it and send it to the address on the form.  

Our latest club newsletter can be downloaded here.  As always, club members get the full newsletter emailed directly to them.  This introduces our new club president, the implementation of our calendar year club dues structure and offers the chance for one lucky person to win a FREE registration to the AVA’s 2021 Biennial Convention, to be held in Madison, Wisconsin.

We’ll be announcing the 2020 Walker of the Year at our January 11th Zoom meeting (link sent to club members by hard-working past president Lee). In-person club meetings are still on hold at this time.

You did see our 2021 Walk Booklet, didn’t you? We’ve got 8 Traditional Events scheduled, starting in March. We have 10 Year Round Walks that you can do (almost) every day of the year and 3 Seasonal Walks starting April 1st (information on this page). One of them is only available via the Online Start Box, so if you don’t have an online account, now is the perfect time to create one and get familiar with the process. A tutorial is in the works to supplement the great “Help” sections available with each step of the process.  

We’re sending out a big THANK YOU! to the folks with the Lincoln Volkssport Club, which closed at the end of 2020. Their passion and commitment to great walks continues.  Our club has picked up the Lincoln Capital and Seward Year Round Walks, with the help of former LVC members. The Nebraska City walk has been turned into one of our new Seasonal Walks, but don’t worry – it closes after the Apple Jack Festival.  

If your 2021 resolution is to be more active, we want to be your partner.  And you can always do those Year Rounds in snowshoes.  ?

 

 

Our Response to COVID-19

The Board of the Trailblazers, with guidance from our parent walking club, the AVA, has adopted a set of COVID-19 protocols for our walks.  Highlights include using masks when checking in, asking for pre-registration via our eRegistrations page and only accepting exact change placed in an envelope for our walks.

You can read the full set of protocols here: COVID-19 Protocols

eRegistration for our September 19th walk at Standing Bear Lake is available here:  eRegistration Page

Unfortunately, we cannot have a September 14th club meeting, for all sorts of logistical reasons.  We are looking at options for October.

 

Summer 2020 News

If you’re not a club member, you probably didn’t see our July – August newsletter.  If you did see it, you might not know that our Westroads Year Round Event has reopened!  Good news – all of those year round events will be available next year, with a few surprises.  Bad news – our 20 Iowa Parks in 2020 program is coming to an end October 15, 2020.  Good news – there’s still two more months of great walking weather to get them all done!

More bad news – we won’t be having any Group Walks in Iowa State Parks as planned for August 29th, October 2nd nor October 3rd.  But our partner in these walks, the Greater Des Moines Volkssport Association, is planning a Group Walk of Stephens State Forest on September 26th at 10 a.m.

Bad news/Good news – our friends to the north, the Prairie Wanders Volkssport Club, have had to postpone their multi-event walking weekend from September 11 – 13, 2020 to September 10 – 12, 2021.

Our September 19, 2020 walk at Standing Bear Lake, Entrance 4 (between Fort and Military on 132nd Street) is still on, but the breakfast portion of the walk has been cancelled.  Arrive anytime from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. to register and to walk.  Masks are required for the registration, but are not needed once you start walking.  Please bring $2 exact change in an envelope for each Fun Walker and/or $3 for each Credit Walker (book stamper).  Bring your own pen to sign in.  No need to rush this walk – you have until 2 p.m. to get back – and yes, we do check to make sure that the same number of people that start out are the same number of people that come back.  ?

Lots of News! and a Newsletter

It’s hard to keep track of everything that’s changing, isn’t it! Our crack reporter and newsletter editor Julie put together another great newsletter – and in the last couple of days, we’ve got more news and updates to pass along to you.

First, the newsletter: NWFT May-June 2020 newsletter

You can download it here: NWFT May – June 2020 newsletter

Now for the updates:

  • Our May 9th Traditional Walk, rescheduled from April, is CANCELED.
  • No decision has been made at this time about our June 1st Club Meeting.
  • 20 Iowa Parks in 2020 seasonal walking program has OPENED as of May 1st.  All facilities are not open at the parks until at least May 15th, although one or two toilets may be available.  Try to be flexible if you want to walk before the 15th and do follow all Iowa social distancing guidelines.
  • Speaking of the Iowa Parks program, Lake Anita State Park’s POC Jill reports that the Start Box is temporarily located inside the Park Office, until the campgrounds open on May 15th.
  • Still speaking of the Iowa Parks program, the June 6th Group Walks at Lewis and Clark and Stone State Parks have been CANCELED.  These are fantastic walks that you can do on your own, but not with a group at this time. Maybe in the fall?
  • Omaha Hanscom Park YRE has REOPENED.
  • Omaha Westroads Mall YRE is still CLOSED.
  • A New Seasonal Walk, with Little Free Library!,  has been ADDED in Southeastern Council Bluffs, courtesy of Sandy Spaulding.  Info at: AVA website listing

UPDATES TO OUR YEAR ROUND WALKS

Updated May 4, 2020, 3 p.m.

Just added: a new Seasonal Walk May 1 – Sept. 30th in southeastern rural Council Bluffs!  It even has a Little Free Library.  See details here: Country Knolls – Council Bluffs

Our club hosts 8 different year round walks (YREs) that you can do on your own, at any time that the hosting business for our walk box is open.  Of those 8 YREs, one has been closed and one has had some changes to their accessibility.

The Hanscom Park Walk, sanction #114315, registers at the Comfort Inn at the Zoo, and starts within Hanscom Park. The City of Omaha has reopened all city parks, so this walk has re-opened.

The Westroads Mall Walk, sanction #115089, registers at the AmericInn at 9720 W Dodge Rd, Omaha, NE 68114, just across the street from the Westroads Mall. The AmericInn is closed and the Walk Box is not available.  The Mall itself has shortened its hours of operation, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Most stores in the mall are closed, as is the Food Court.  is closed to shoppers and walkers.

Across the Missouri River, the Council Bluffs (Iowa) Black Squirrel Walk, sanction #114319, registers at Lansky’s at 1131 N Broadway, Council Bluffs, IA 51503.  Lansky’s is closing earlier and is offering takeout food only, with no access to bathrooms. Operating hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Management has asked walkers to take the Walk Box outside to complete paperwork and then to return it.

CALENDAR UPDATE

Please note that the following events have been changed (updated May 21, 2020):

  • June 6th Group Walk at Lewis and Clark State Park, Iowa – CANCELED
  • June 6th Group Walk at Stone State Park, Iowa – CANCELED
  • June 20th Group Walk hosted by Iowa’s Walking Club at Mines of Spain State Park – CANCELED

Any questions, please let us know at netrailblazers@gmail.com.

2020 Walk Booklet – just published!

Our 2020 Walk Booklet is just filled with so many walks and activities that you’re going to need to pull out your calendars NOW and mark them all!

Just check out the new weblink here to see it and the instructions for printing 28 pages bursting with information on just 7 sheets of paper!

Our first regular walking event is Saturday, March 7th – our annual Soup Walk, complete with Raffle.  Our booklet editor, Julie, calls it our “Winter-Be-Gone” Soup Walk.  Hope so! – there’s an Ice Cream Parlor on the route (one of three Special Programs available on this walk).

 

What time? Where? Registration? It’s all in the booklet! But we’ll be posting later this month to remind you.  🙂