Courtesy Free Period Press
The Cleveland Metroparks Challenge Map
Clevelander Lora DiFranco wants people to put down their cell phones, look away from screens and take a big look at the great outdoors. She gets the irony in this, of course, as we're talking over the phone for an article that will end up online for people to read.
"Everything in moderation," she says.
But that's why the Free Period Press founder started her company five years ago, to make print products that help human beings slow down and unplug and focus on what is important. At first that meant designing adult coloring books, but now that's evolved to ornate journals, listmakers, calendars and stickers with motivational sayings.
Until now, the company has never released anything Cleveland-area specific. But just last month, DiFranco unveiled the Cleveland Metroparks Challenge map
($12) and mini guidebook
($8), which helps people explore all 18 reservations in the system.
While the challenge is not officially sanctioned by the Metroparks, DiFranco is working to get her products into its visitor's shops.
"There is so much research about how outside is the best, and we wanted to create something that would get people outside — especially with the Metroparks we have in Cleveland," DiFranco says. "It’s easy for me to go to the reservation by my house and do the same hike again and again, but we wanted to get people out to a new park they'd never seen before."
The bucket list concept has worked well with things like local beer trails and the Buckeye candy trail, and DiFranco wanted to implement that idea into the challenge.
DiFranco worked with graphic designer Katie Daugherty and Cleveland-area hike expert
Diane Stresing to help bring her concept to life. The result is a pocket-size guidebook packed with information on each park, along with plenty of blank space to record each adventure, and also an illustrated map to pin up and check off as you go.
"If I could give this product away, I would," DiFranco admits. "I just want people to go to the Metroparks. You never regret a hike."
But not even DiFranco has made it to all 18 spots yet.
"By the end of the year, that's my goal," she says.
The challenge materials can be found online as well as about a dozen independent bookstores and shops around Cleveland. Find out more at freeperiodpress.com.
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