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    Wegmans Blazes Wellness Trails

    Free guides invite families to explore nature, improve health

    From one pocket-sized free guide to 15 hiking trails in Penfield, N.Y., that Wegmans Food Markets printed in 2005, the Rochester, N.Y.-based grocer now offers 18 additional “Passport to Family Wellness” booklets to more than 150 trails in four states, with a total print run of more than 36,000, and another eight guides currently in the works.

    “The Passports to Family Wellness are a perfect match for one of the company’s four ‘Eat Well, Live Well’ principles,” noted Marcie Bartolotta, manager of the program’s community initiatives. “One principle says ‘Get Moving.’ Many, many studies show that regular exercise does help people of all ages maintain better health. Walking, hiking and biking are great ways to get moving -- and you may not even realize you’re exercising because you’re having so much fun doing it.”

    Trails covered can be found in a wide range of settings -- parks, riverbanks, canals and towpaths, lakes, nature preserves, and even city streets – and, in addition to the expected hiking, biking, bird watching and wildlife viewing, highlighted outdoor activities include canoeing and kayaking, swimming, and winter activities such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The booklets also provide advice about preparing for a hike: dressing in layers, and taking along sunscreen, water, and maybe a snack for sustenance on one of the longer trails.

    Each featured trail has a rubbing post near the middle of the route, with a space in the passport to make the rubbing for that trail. “Finding the rubbing post and making a rubbing is like going on a scavenger hunt,” explained Bartolotta. “It makes the adventure more fun.” After six or more trails have been completed, the passport holder earns a reward, such as a coupon for a free item at Wegmans.

    According to Bartolotta, the guides have proved popular. “We partnered with town and city recreation programs, land conservancy groups, hiking and bicycling organizations, and fitness programs to map trails and distribute passports,” she said. “Now, the information about these trails is in many more hands than before. It’s free, fun, and good for you. What could be better?”

    The guides are available upon request at customer service desks of Wegmans stores located near the trails, or can be accessed and printed online.

    Family-owned Wegmans operates 81 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts.

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