SHELTON — The Shelton Trails Committee has a challenge for those residents who want to get out of the house, get some exercise and maintain social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

The "Out and About Challenge” was created to get people to visit as many of Shelton’s miles of trail system as they can. The challenge is a two-part game encouraging people to take an object to be placed and photographed along the trails visited and then to email the photos in.

“We have more than 30 miles of trails in Shelton, all maintained by a committed team of volunteers,” said Conservation Commission Chair Tom Harbinson. “Some of them are hardly being used and are quite delightful to experience.”

Harbinson said city Natural Resources Manager Teresa Gallagher developed the challenge “to try and encourage users to spread out ... and explore.

“There are a tremendous number of people using the trails, but most heavily the Recreation Path, as that is prominently visible from the road and what the casual resident is most familiar with who has not done much hiking on trails,” said Harbinson. “The parking areas are filled on weekends and there is a need to spread out.”

The challenge, as detailed in the committee’s website, allows for walkers to choose from three levels of trail difficulty,ranging from a relatively easy walk that hits all the scenic locations to trails that are rockier, steeper, or more difficult to access. Physical difficulty increases with each level.

Participants are asked to choose an avatar to represent themselves in the photos. This can be anything that can be easily carried — a plastic dinosaur, a Monopoly game piece, a roll of toilet paper — that can be set up and photographed. Naming the avatar is optional.

The game is to visit all 10 sites within each level and take a photo of the avatar at each site in such a way that the location is recognizable. Photos can be emailed, with name (or trail name) and address, to conservation@sheltontrails.org.

The committee will send those emailing photos a custom card recognizing the achievement and enter their name in a year-end drawing.

“This challenge was created to address a surge of trail users during the coronavirus pandemic,” stated on the committee’s website. “One of our goals is to encourage people to spread out and visit some of our lesser known areas. Please practice safe social distancing and visit these locations with household members only. People doing Levels 2 and 3 should wear insect repellent effective against ticks. Permethrin-based sprays on clothing are most effective and last up to one month.”

For details on the trails, their locations and what the level of difficulty of each trail, visit https://sheltontrailscom.blogspot.com/p/sheltons.html

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com