Feel Better and Free Swag: Two Reasons Why You Should Hike Butte County

Nearly a year into the pandemic, health continues to be top of mind. At Square Deal, we’re more committed than ever to boost our overall wellness and get better rest. In this edition of The Year of Good Sleep, we’re catching up with Explore Butte County to learn more about their newest Hike Butte Pass and how it can lead to better overall wellness.

Formed in 2015, Explore Butte County is a local travel and tourism organization tasked  to bring business to local hotels by increasing both local and touristic engagement in the local economy and environment. They promote Butte County  signature events like: Restaurant Week, Sierra Oro Farm Trail, Museum Weekend, and the Chico Velo Wildflower Century.

The Hike Butte Pass is their newest program, launched on February 15, 2021. (Full disclosure: we CAN’T WAIT to get started on this!) The program is designed to encourage people to get outside on one of the many amazing hiking trails around Butte County–and maybe earn a little swag while they’re at it. 

Explore Butte County Executive Director Carolyn Denero shares all the details below:

What was the inspiration for Hike Butte County?

With all the stay-at-home orders during the pandemic, we had to think about how we could turn our marketing efforts into something people could do. Outside is still open, so we decided to focus on helping people get outdoors.

Science corner: The Yale School of Environment says two hours is all you need to “get a dose of nature high enough to…feel healthy and have a strong sense of well-being.”  

But you’ve already got your hikes listed on Explore Butte County, right?

We do! But we wanted to do something more than just sending people to a list. We asked ourselves: “Can we activate hiking”? We knew it had been done in other states, so we were motivated to find a way to do it here.

We’re on pins and needles — how many hikes are there?!

We have 35 hikes in total! Originally, we had 45, but we lost some due to events like the fires last summer. The hikes vary from easy to difficult, so there are options for all skill levels!

How did you choose them?

We gathered from our existing lists and recommendations, and then we worked really hard to curate the hikes. We spoke to public land managers to make sure they’re on board with it and identified all the details about the hikes, such as maps, driving directions, best time of year, etc. After that, we set up the pass.

Science Corner: A study from the University of Exeter found people who spent a total of two hours in nature each week were more apt to report better physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental health and well-being than those who stayed indoors or in urban areas. Another study from Stanford backs this up: people who not only get outdoors but also walk for at least 30 minutes experience fewer negative thoughts than those inside or walking in city environments.

Tell us more about the pass; how does it work?

Our partner Bandwango inspired us to think about how we could do a “crawl” or a “pass” type of experience. We decided to use this model to list all of our hikes. 

And it’s easy! All you do is sign up on the Hike Butte County website, and you’ll get access to a personalized dashboard that logs each hike. You can check in on your phone browser when you start–no app needed!

You mentioned swag…

We partnered with local artist David Selkirk–you might know him from Upper Park Clothing! He designed an amazing custom logo for the hiking pass, and we loved it so much we decided to put it on the swag participants can win.

The way it works is pretty simple: the more you hike, the more swag you can earn (while supplies last):

  • 1 hike = 1 sticker
  • 5 hikes = 1 koozie
  • 12 hikes = 16 oz Klean Kanteen metal pint glass
  • 25 hikes = trucker-style hat
  • Black out (35 hikes) = day pack backpack

Every quarter, we’ll do a drawing for a Butte County vacation as well!

How long do we have to complete the hikes?

December 31 is the final day to get in as many hikes as you can and earn prizes. That’s a little over 3 hikes a month.

Carolyn, why are you excited about this program in particular?

It’s a fun way to help our community get outside to enjoy what we have in our own backyard. These days, it’s nice to see other people who are doing the same thing. Even if we can’t meet up right now the way we’d like, there’s camaraderie in seeing other people in shared outdoor exercise. Supporting local businesses and activities is what makes our community so great!

Summary: Getting outside is good for us. Hike Butte County is a great way to get on the wellness bandwagon for 2021 — will you join?

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