South County Walks offers another way to be active

By Cheryl Aarnio | Jul 18, 2019
Photo by: Cheryl Aarnio South County Walks participants enjoy the view of Puget Sound during one of the weekly walks.

On a cloudy Tuesday that looked as if rain was about to start any minute, a group of 16 people cheerfully set out for a walk around Edmonds as part of the South County Walks.

These hour-long walks are organized four times a week throughout the summer and end Sept. 30, skipping Labor Day weekend. They take place in various locations around Edmonds, Lynnwood, and Mountlake Terrace, said Jennifer Piplic, Verdant Health Commission’s director of marketing and communications.

Sherry Ogur, a volunteer who helps lead the walks, said, “We have some folks that will be here every Tuesday but would never go to Mountlake Terrace because they don’t drive or they don’t have access … and that’s another really good reason for having four different locations.”

There are 10 routes for the walks in Edmonds, which are chosen by the Edmonds Senior Center and the Edmonds Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department.

However, not all locations have different routes. On Monday evenings, the walks begin at the Verdant Community Wellness Center in Lynnwood, and people get used to walking the same route each week, Piplic said.

Michael Parker, a participant of the walks in Edmonds and Lynnwood, said he has found new routes in both cities. Previously, one of the walks went through the Edmonds Marsh, which he did not know existed, and he is looking forward to seeing what is in store in future walks.

Some people are motivated by incentives, Piplic said, so at each walk, participants receive a punch card, and once they have finished eight walks, can be entered to win one of four prizes that have been donated by local businesses. The winners will be chosen in the beginning of October.

The prizes are a Fitbit Alta donated by the Everett Clinic; a commuter prize pack that includes, among other items, an ORCA card donated by Community Transit; running or walking shoes donated by Brooks Outlet Store; and hiking shoes and a Discover Pass donated by Althea’s Footwear Solutions and IRG Physical Therapy.

While Karen Ash recently started participating in the South County Walks, she said the punch cards have been a good incentive for her to continue the walks.

“We were in Mountlake Terrace this weekend, looking at all the yards and all the different houses and the different neighborhoods; it made the walk really fast and enjoyable,” Ash said. “We would never be in those areas otherwise.”

Piplic said, “(The Verdant Health Commission) got involved because we wanted to create more opportunities for residents in this area to the outdoors and be active outside and connect with one another and meet new folks.”

Diane Moss, who participated in the South County Walks last summer, said they are a great way to meet others. After they ended last year, she continued to walk with one of the women she met through them.

The walks start on Tuesday mornings at 9:30 at the Olympic Beach Visitor Station in Edmonds. On Thursdays at 6 p.m., they begin at the Lynnwood Recreation Center. The walks meet at the Mountlake Terrace Recreation Pavilion Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. On Monday evenings at 6, the walks start at the Verdant Community Wellness Center.

The Verdant Health Commission, with the Cities of Edmonds, Lynnwood, and Mountlake Terrace, and the Edmonds Senior Center, organizes South County Walks, Piplic said.

The Verdant Health Commission also organizes the Bike2Health South County Rides with Cascade Bicycle Club, said Marielle Harrington, healthy communities coordinator with the City of Lynnwood.

These are weekly bicycle rides intended for beginning riders over 6 years old with basic bike skills and for families. They end in August with one ride in September in each city.

So far, not many people have shown up for the rides, but Harrington said they hope it is because school has recently ended.

“We’re really trying to get more bike riders in our communities. We know the benefits of being physically active, and this is really one component of encouraging people to be active,” Harrington said.

The bicycle rides in July and August are from 5-7 p.m. Tuesdays at Veterans Memorial Park, 5-7 p.m. Wednesdays at South Lynnwood Park, and 5-7 p.m. Thursdays at Edmonds City Park. To register or for more information, visit https://cascade.org/bike2health.

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