Packing for a hike, made simpler

The Adirondack Mountain Club-Foothills Chapter this month donated one adult size and one child size hiking backpack each stuffed with supplies to the Gloversville Public Library that library card holders can borrow for up to two weeks. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

GLOVERSVILLE — Families looking to get outdoors this year may benefit from a pair of new items available for circulation through the Gloversville Public Library donated by the Adirondack Mountain Club—Foothills Chapter.

Taking a cue from a growing trend among libraries to include items in their collections that will draw patrons outdoors, the Adirondack Mountain Club—Foothills Chapter this month donated one adult size and one child size hiking backpack each stuffed with supplies to the Gloversville Public Library.

The backpacks can only be taken out as a pair by an adult with a library card. Club member Marie Naple explained that the backpacks are aimed at encouraging adults to bring their children hiking to foster a lifelong love of the outdoors.

“We’re about people getting out, moving their body and enjoying nature,” Naple said. “It might entice people to start bringing their families to do these things, so it would mean people were learning about the woods and hiking when they were younger and would continue as adults.”

Sally Fancher, Gloversville Public Library’s head of children’s services, pointed to the backpacks as providing an opportunity to take kids hiking for the first time without having to shoulder the cost of supplies until families are sure it’s an activity their children enjoy.

“It’s good for a practice-run hiking with kids,” Fancher said.

Each backpack includes a compass with instructions, flashlight and headlamp, tissues, survival kit, emergency blanket, rain poncho, carabiners, first aid supplies, hand sanitizer, bungee cords, bug head net and garbage bags and baggies under the “leave no trace” principles.

The children’s pack also includes “Adirondack Mountain Club Central Trails,” “Kids on the Trail,” maps of the Adirondack Park and an explorer’s tool with a magnifying glass, binoculars, compass and signal mirror.

Naple said the club came up with the idea for the backpacks after participating in a health fair at Nathan Littauer Hospital and seeing the level of interest from parents looking to take children hiking while fielding requests for kid friendly hiking destinations.

The club typically leads several hikes, bikes and kayak trips throughout the Foothills region for members and the public to participate in each month, but does not supply equipment. Providing the backpacks stuffed with supplies to the library to loan out presented the club an opportunity to get basic supplies into the hands of kids to get them excited about hiking.

“I think it would excite children to see the backpacks,” Naple said. “I know I was always excited by camping equipment when I was a kid.”

Fancher extended the library’s appreciation to the club for making the donation, saying it was a great idea that she hopes library patrons will enjoy while heading outdoors.

“The library thinks that you have to educate all of your system. You have to educate your mind, you have to educate your body and you can learn things not just from a book, by being outside, being with other people,” Fancher said. “I hope that we get some good circulation on the packs.”

The hiking backpacks can be borrowed as a set for up to two weeks. Adult library card holders can check out the packs at the Gloversville Public Library located at 58 E. Fulton St. through the children’s center on the lower level. The packs must also be returned to the children’s center where library staff will verify that all contents have been returned.

The Adirondack Mountain Club—Foothills Chapter suggests that library patrons replace any disposable items from the packs used during the lending period such as tissues and garbage bags. The library will ensure each pack is ready for use before they are borrowed.

Each hiking backpack contains a disclaimer stating that the borrower must assume all liability and responsibility.

By Kerry Minor

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