With a multitude of charming waterfront towns and villages, picturesque cities, and spectacular parks, one could say the Great Lakes Seaway Trail was made for walking. While the route itself is primarily a driving route, there’s perhaps no better way to truly experience the region than getting out and walking.
A great way to experience the region is by enjoying the walks established by the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Volkssport Association. Volkssporting in German is “the sport of the people” (similar to the root of the word Volkswagen). The Volkssporting concept originated in Europe over 40 years ago and came to the United States with returning military personnel who had been stationed in Germany.
Volkssport walks are 3.1 miles (5 km) or 6.2 miles (10 km), and the routes typically include a particularly scenic or historic area. These walks are family oriented and appeal to those who enjoy outdoor physical activity in which people of all ages and fitness levels can participate. Volkssport “events” (as the walks are known) are sanctioned by the American Volkssport Association (AVA) which is affiliated with the International Federation of Popular Sports (known as IVV using its German abbreviation). Those who are serious about Volkssports keep IVV reward and distance books which track the number of walks they’ve completed and the distance walked. These logbooks can be redeemed for certificates, patches, and pins for reaching milestones.
Along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, there are many AVA sanctioned walks. Nine of these walks are part of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail War of 1812 Walk Series and will take walkers to the very frontlines where the War of 1812 was fought. After completing each walk, participants have the option of buying a commemorative pin as either a souvenir or collectable. In addition to the War of 1812 Walks, the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Volkssport Association has established a Lighthouse Walk Series and other independent walks.
Volkssport walks are open to all, and there is no charge to do the walk, except if doing so for IVV credit or to purchase the pin. To get started, click on any of the walks to the left. To obtain the walk directions, visit the “start location” listed for each walk and ask for the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Walk Box. Sign in, pick up your directions, and enjoy the walk! These walks are available seasonally, from April through November.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Volkssport Association may call 315-646-1000 x200 for details. Click here to download the pdf application form.
Volkswalking “Off the Beaten Path” Video
The AVA webmaster and AVA Clubs have been granted permission to use this video found on YouTube as an aide and opportunity for growth. Many smiling faces are featured on this video, along with a positive message about our wonderful organization, and our AVA family.