By Joe King, [email protected]

Two hikers map out their route at Ijams Nature Center. (The Herald/ Knoxnews)

Two hikers map out their route at Ijams Nature Center. (The Herald/ Knoxnews)

Ijams Nature Center, located in South Knoxville, will host a fundraising hiking event for entire month of March.

The Hike-A-Thon will be a month long event where hikers collect pledges and the hike the nature center’s trails to earn them.

Some of the reasons for the fundraiser include protecting the trails, promoting exercise, and getting families involved in outdoor activities.

“It gets people out on the trail and showcases the Southern Loop of the Wilderness Trail,” said Ijams Development Officer Mary Thom Adams.

Funds raised will help preserve and protect the environmental and historical resources of Ijams Nature Center and the Urban Wilderness as well as and provide educational opportunities to local schools and residents.

Knoxville-based band will perform at the Mar. 30 Ijams HIkers Ball. (The Herald/ Archived Photo)

Knoxville-based band will perform at the Mar. 30 Ijams HIkers Ball. (The Herald/ Archived Photo)

“We have a lot of schools that come out to the center and this will help support that,” Adams said.

Adams added some of the most demanding financial challenges are keeping the trails clean and mulching.

“It takes a lot of work hours to get for the upkeep on the trail,” she said. “Some of the work is done by volunteers. The Appalachian Mountain Bike Club has been very helpful.”

The Hike-A-Thon is about to everybody from experienced and novice hikers of any age. Participants can hike as an individual or a team of two to 10 people.

Teams compete for their own special grand prizes, but all Ijams Hike-a-Thonners are eligible for special awards and cumulative prizes.

Prizes are yet to be determined.

All miles on named trails or the greenway will count toward your Ijams Hike-a-Thon goals. Track all the miles you hike to compete for most miles hiked during the month to win special prizes.

Registration cost for the event is $20 per individual and $100 per a group of 10. Those who register will receive a T-shirt (while supplies last), pledge form, mileage log sheet and admission to the closing ceremony and Hiker’s Ball.

The Hiker’s Ball will be held at IJams Mar. 30 for 7 to 11 p.m. The ball will feature food and a live band by The Bearded.

Registration forms for the event can be found at www.ijams.org. For more information contact Mary Thom Adams at 865-577-4717 ext. 117 or [email protected]

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