A new book aimed at encouraging kids and families to explore the natural wonders of Humboldt County has been launched.
“Hiking Humboldt Kids,” authored by Rees Hughes, is the latest addition to the “Hiking Humboldt Series.” The book is a result of a dynamic collaboration between Backcountry Press and First 5 Humboldt, an organization that advocates and supports pregnant individuals and families with children up to five years old.
First 5 Humboldt’s Executive Director, Mary Ann Hansen, and Community Engagement Coordinator, Jennifer Gonzales, initiated the project in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They sought out local author Rees Hughes and Backcountry Press Co-Founder, Michael Kauffmann, to help create an engaging hiking book for kids and families. The bilingual guide, written in both English and Spanish, encourages families to explore nature across the county.
Hughes, reflecting on the importance of spending time in nature as a child, said, “I know how important being active outdoors was to me and my family. I hope this resource will encourage families with young children to take advantage of the amazing outdoors too. Get out there and have fun together!”
The book is designed to be inclusive and accessible to a diverse audience. The hikes featured can be easily accessed by walking or using public transportation, and many are close to urban centers. The Spanish translation on each page invites a broader audience to enjoy the outdoor experiences the book offers.
First 5 Humboldt will distribute free copies of the book to families with young children through various events, including playgroups and library tours. Gonzales and her children field-tested many of the trails in the guidebook, ensuring essential information such as restrooms, stroller accessibility, and public transit options were documented.
Gonzales highlighted the importance of nature for children’s mental and physical well-being, citing studies showing that time spent outdoors can reduce stress, depression, and blood pressure. “This book connects the benefits of being in nature with an easy-to-use guide that will assist you in creating lasting memories with your children,” she said.
“Hiking Humboldt Kids” features 25 hikes organized into four geographic regions in Humboldt County, California. The guidebook includes hike descriptions, driving and walking directions, custom maps, engaging activities for kids, and stunning photographs from local photographers. With its wealth of information and focus on accessibility, the book promises to be a valuable resource for families seeking to explore the great outdoors together.