Tuttle Trek brings K-Staters, Manhattan community to state park during offseason

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Tuttle Trek attendees walk at Tuttle Creek State Park during the Tuttle Trek event on Feb 18, 2017. (John Benfer | The Collegian)

With a high of 75 F on Saturday afternoon, about 15 people visited Tuttle Creek State Park for the first of three “Tuttle Treks,” a guided hike during the state park’s “offseason.” The Tuttle Trek was designed to get people exploring what the state park has to offer.

The approximately two-mile hike was guided by Amelia Staver, senior in park management conservation, and Clayton Swanson, senior in wildlife and outdoor enterprise management.

Both Staver and Swanson are AmeriCorps team members who help out at the park by leading tours, performing park clean up and maintenance and offering disaster relief.

“We led this tour in hopes of getting people outside and exploring park trails that a lot of people don’t know about,” Swanson said.

Celeste Bartels, junior in marketing and management, said she appreciated the opportunity to explore Tuttle Creek State Park.

“I really enjoyed getting to know Tuttle Creek State Park,” Bartels said. “Before today, I didn’t know about the hiking trails.”

Bartels not only reached 10,000 steps on her FitBit, she also said the fresh air was much appreciated.

“The weather made it impossible to stay inside,” Bartels said. “I was glad to have an excuse to hike. It was a great activity for Saturday morning, not too difficult and a nice way to get some exercise and fresh air.”

U’i Kaaekuahiwi, junior in animal sciences and industry, also explored Tuttle Creek State Park’s hiking trails for the first time during the Tuttle Trek.

“After living in places like Oregon and California, I found the scenery to be quite different,” Kaaekuahiwi said. “I felt like the area was more open and there were definitely a lot less trees than I am used to, but some of the rock formations along the water were pretty cool. The hike was a refreshing experience.”

Staver said she was excited to see people mingling and enjoying the trails throughout the duration of the two-mile hike and hopes they will come back more frequently.

“I think a lot of people are kind of afraid to come out here and explore on their own, so I hope this gave them a chance to see some of what we have to offer while on a guided hike,” Staver said. “We want people to be able to enjoy the outdoors here.”

The next two Tuttle Treks are scheduled for March 18 and April 15 at 12:45 p.m.

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Hi, I'm Kaitlyn Alanis, former news editor for the Collegian and a May 2017 graduate in agricultural communications and journalism. I have never tried a hamburger and I hate the taste of coffee, but I love writing stories and sharing what I learn with our readers. By writing for the Collegian, I can now not only sing along when the K-State Band plays "The Band is Hot," but I also know that most agriculture students did not grow up on a farm, how to use an AED to save someone's life and why there is a bust of MLK Jr. outside of Ahearn Field House. Thanks for reading!