Perris officials hoped to attract 100 people for a family-friendly low-impact hike May 31st at the scenic Lake Perris State Recreation Area. Turnout more than tripled their expectations as 350 residents and visitors tramped the trail.
“Unbelievable,” said Perris City Councilman Mark Yarbrough, who led the two-mile jaunt. “I was pleasantly shocked at the turnout. The weather was perfect and everybody had a good time.”
The hike continues the City’s “Live Well Perris” healthy-eating active-living campaign, which this year features a series of events hosted and led by elected officials. The first in the series, a boxing-skills clinic in May, drew hundreds of participants and observers. Upcoming events include an aquatics meet July 12 hosted by Mayor Daryl Busch; a skateboard tournament Sept. 20 hosted by City Councilman Julio Rodriguez; a baseball clinic in August hosted by Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley; a soccer camp in September hosted by City Councilman Al Landers and a 5-K power walk hosted Oct. 4 by City Clerk Nancy Salazar.
Yarbrough said he arrived at Lake Perris and saw the large crowd gathering to take part in the hike. Several families participated en masse. A few folks brought their dogs. The City provided healthy fruit-flavored water and energy bars to help fortify those on the trail. Later on, there were raffles of bicycles and Perris staff handed out day-passes to the newly opened DropZone aquatics center. Everyone also received a free flashlight.
“This represents another home run for our Live Well Perris campaign,” he said. “This is not about community and I think we do a really great job engaging with our community.”
Praise came quickly from those who took part.
Assistant City Manager Ron Carr expressed his gratitude to Perris residents and staff, saying: “Many thanks to the people who worked to make this event possible.”
Michael Naggar wrote on Yarbrough’s facebook page that the hike proved a “very nice way to bring the community together.”
Arlene Ustaszewski Crouch commented on facebook that “I had a great time and can't wait to use my free water park ticket!”
Ginky Natividad Gamboa’s remark was simple: “Cool.”
Yarbrough said he plans to lead a longer, more challenging hike at another part of the State Recreation Area in September. He said he may have to work out with his American bulldog, Champ, to get the pooch in better shape to make the next jaunt.
“He was so tired, I almost raffled him off!” Yarbrough joked.