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Hiking challenge raises $36K for Audubon; summer challenge has begun

This summer's WNY Hiking Challenge will benefit The WNY Land Conservancy and the Finger Lakes Trail Conference.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — COVID-19 didn't keep Western New Yorkers cooped up. In fact, so many people got out hiking as part of a local challenge, $36,000 was raised for a local conservation organization. 

The Western New York Hiking Challenge was created to get people outside and seeing different parts of Western New York. Hikers pay a small registration fee to get a patch in exchange for finishing the challenge, and that fee goes to charity. 

This winter, $36,000 was raised for Beaver Meadows Audubon Center, aka the Buffalo Audubon Society. Outside Chronicles, who hosts and created the challenge, posted a photo of the donation check on Wednesday.

The good news is, if you missed out on the Winter edition or can't stand the cold, Outside Chronicles just released the summer edition of the challenge. Despite the name, this challenge runs until November, giving you plenty of time to get out and into the woods.

The summer challenge features 32 parks and two bonus parks. If you participate, the goal is to complete at least 20 trails. The trails are broken up into four groups, and you complete five from each. 

At each trail, you'll take a photo at the landmark. Registration is $20 a person, $65 for a family, $20 for a pet, and $15 for scouts.

Registration includes a patch and sticker. This round, the donation will be made to the WNY Wildway project at The WNY Land Conservancy and the Finger Lakes Trail Conference.

Also, new this year: there's an "Ulta" challenge for those who like to take a much longer hike.