The annual Hiking Spree, sponsored by Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation, is a great way to get out and see the natural habitat of Hillsborough County. Locations such as Blackwater Creek Nature Preserve in Plant City are a great example.

If you have not signed up for the annual Hiking Spree sponsored by Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation, never fear, there is still time to do so. The Hiking Spree ends on Wednesday, March 31.

For those who have registered and complete at least eight hikes from this year’s Hiking Spree trail list, you can choose to receive a patch or medallion. If you have included your four-legged friend as a fellow hiker, you can get a bandana. All of the prizes feature the green tree frog, which is the designated animal for the 2021 Hiking Spree.

So far, 5,128 residents have registered, along with 1,065 dogs. Approximately 248 have submitted their completed forms.

The annual Hiking Spree is a fantastic way to get outside and explore all of the great neighborhood parks, preserves and even a few state parks that are a part of Hillsborough County.

Since registering, I have visited Blackwater Creek Nature Preserve in Plant City and the Old Agrico Hiking Trail at Alafia River State Park. I even discovered a few spots that are hidden in plain sight, including the Myron and Helen Gibbons Nature Preserve and the Trails of River Hills. I plan to complete the Hiking Spree and get a patch or medallion.

My fellow hiker, Katie Collins, said, “Who knew we had so many beautiful parks and trails? I want to visit all of them.”

Dana McDonald with Hillsborough County said, “We want everyone to know that [there] is a fun and easy way to get outdoors and explore new trails right in your own backyard. It is a great way to get out in nature and get exercise in your Hillsborough County parks.”

McDonald added, “These parks are cared for by people who are dedicated to preserving nature and showing the community the importance of having these treasures so close. It is a great way to see plants, trees or animals that you might not see in your neighborhood.”

Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation has been hosting the annual Hiking Spree for five years.

McDonald said, “We love showing people undiscovered gems. We plan on keeping the Hiking Spree and making it better each year.”

To register for the Hiking Spree, please visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org and click on Hiking Spree.