Trail challenge honors Les Haas

Les Haas, a former member of the Elk County Conservation District and Waterways Conservation Officer with the Pa. Fish an Boat Commission, died unexpectedly seven months ago, but his memory will be kept alive Sept. 22 with the 1st Annual Les Haas Memorial Trail Challenge.The event will be held on the Laurel Mill Ski Trail in the Allegheny National Forest, near Ridgway, on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 9 a.m.Two distances will be offered for the runners and walkers. A 16K [kilometers] race will be available to the runners who are looking for a long distance challenge and a more traditional 5K race is also available.The race course will consist of one loop for the 5K and a series of different loops for the 16K. The terrain includes several rolling hills and surface of the trail will consist of a mixture of dirt, gravel, grasses, leaves and other forest debris. Participants can register the morning of the race. Awards will be presented to the top overall male and female in both the 16K and 5K categories. Awards will also be presented to the top three male and female participants in each age group. Each race has seven age group categories. The awards ceremony will immediately follow the conclusion of the race. Proceeds from the event will benefit environmental education efforts in Elk County.Registration forms are available at the Elk County Conservation District office, Country Squirrel Outfitters and the Ridgway YMCA. Forms may also be downloaded from the district's website at The pre-registration deadline has passed but participants can still register by mailing their registration to the Conservation District office or Country Squirrel Outfitters. Participants may also register at the race the morning of the event. The registration fee is $20. The race begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22.