Outdoor Enthusiasts To Hike, Paddle, Bike, Run And Climb 1,000s Of Miles In April To Protect Nature In Tennessee

  • Thursday, March 23, 2023
Rock House Ramblers Hike-a-Thon Team exploring Tennessee trail
Rock House Ramblers Hike-a-Thon Team exploring Tennessee trail
photo by Courtesy of TennGreen Land Conservancy
Registration is underway for TennGreen Land Conservancy's third annual Hike-a-Thon. The Hike-a-Thon starts on Saturday, April 1, and is an event unlike any other in the Southeast. Through this month-long competition, people of all ages and abilities can explore outside and raise funds to protect Tennessee's lands and waters. The Hike-a-Thon is free to register, and offers competitions and prizes for hikers, paddlers, trail runners, climbers, mountain bikers and more.

Over 280 individuals and 50 teams have already registered for this year's Hike-a-Thon.
Proceeds from this event benefit TennGreen Land Conservancy, a 501(c)(3) environmental nonprofit and the oldest accredited statewide land conservancy in Tennessee. In 2022, TennGreen Land Conservancy protected more than 5,000 acres of forests and open spaces throughout the state. Some of these successes included expanding Fall Creek Falls State Park by more than 2,000 acres; working with partners to acquire four acres adjacent to Lockeland Springs Park in east Nashville; acquiring land for the future Big River Park in Memphis; and purchasing key lands along the Cumberland Trail, Tennessee’s longest linear park.

"Saving land is as expensive as it is urgent, and the crucial dollars we raise through the Hike-a-Thon ensure we can do more to protect the places that enhance our quality of life," said Alice Hudson Pell, TennGreen's executive director. "With the funds we raise through this year's event, we'll continue to create and expand our beloved parks and natural areas, help more landowners protect their forests and farmland, and further encourage all to love and defend nature. I hope to see you all on the trails in April."

Hike-a-Thon participants may compete individually or on teams for the chance to win exciting prizes in a number of competitions. Prizes include a AntiX 2.0 Whitewater Kayak, free shoes from KEEN Footwear, camping equipment donated by REI and much more. To kick off this year's event, everyone who registers for the Hike-a-Thon and logs an adventure by 10 a.m. Central Time on April 3 will be entered into a drawing to win a Tennessee State Parks two-night stay and gift basket.

Individual competitions include Most Money Raised, Most Miles Hiked, Most Miles Hiked (Senior), Most Miles Hiked by a Hiker Experiencing a Disability, Most Miles Trail Run, Most Miles Paddled, Most Miles Mountain Biked, Most Feet Climbed, Most Overall Adventures and Most Unique Donors.

Team competitions include Best Team Name, Most Money Raised, Most Miles Hiked, Most Team Donors and Most Unique Adventures

Prizes will also be awarded in three photography competitions, including Best Photo, Best Group/Team Photo and Best Selfie.

Participants may compete in as many competitions as they’d like, and pop-up prizes will be up for grabs throughout the month of April. Participants can also win prizes by completing 10 of 16 Hike-a-Thon "challenges" (e.g., visit a State Natural Area) as part of a Tennessee Treasure Hunt.

In 2022, Hike-a-Thon participants shattered fundraising records by raising $149,485 for TennGreen Land Conservancy, nearly doubling the amount raised in the event’s first year. Last year's participants completed 968 outdoor adventures and explored more than 5,100 miles across Tennessee and beyond. The Hike-a-Thon also won the prestigious Frist Foundation Revenue Development award from the Center for Nonprofit Management, and was named #2 Best Outdoor Event in 2022 by Nfocus magazine.

"Participating in the Hike-a-Thon was an absolute joy," said 2022 Hike-a-Thoner Brenda Stein. "The hiking and fundraising reconnected me with people I hadn't been in touch with in years. There are a hundred more miles on my boots, most added with friends I love. During these times of environmental havoc, a deepening political divide and seen and unseen suffering, the Hike-a-Thon has been a healing balm in my heart. Together, we've made a lasting impact that will benefit us all and protect the natural world we need to survive and thrive."

TennGreen Land Conservancy is grateful for the generosity of this year’s leading Hike-a-Thon sponsors: Bailey Equipment & Intralogistics, Bearded Iris Brewing and Cumberland Kayak & Adventure Company.

Register for the Hike-a-Thon now at secure.qgiv.com/event/hikeathon2023. If you have questions or need assistance, contact Rich Swartwood, TennGreen Land Conservancy’s director of development, at hikeathon@tenngreen.org or 615-329-4441 ext. 102.
Shania Jones and Kelsie Eldridge paddling Buffalo River
Shania Jones and Kelsie Eldridge paddling Buffalo River
photo by Kristen Hanratty
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