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Iowa State Parks Celebrates the New Year with First Day Hikes Across the State on January 1, 2016

Des Moines – Iowa State Parks will sponsor free, guided hikes in 17 state parks on New Year’s Day as part of America's State Parks First Day Hikes initiative in all 50 states. 

America’s State Parks First Day Hikes offer individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on January 1 at a state park close to home. First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family. 

“We are excited to host First Day Hikes as part of this national effort to get people outdoors and into our parks.  First Day Hikes are a great way to cure cabin fever and burn off those extra holiday calories by starting off the New Year with an invigorating walk or hike in one of our beautiful state parks,” said Todd Coffelt, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources State Parks Bureau.  

“Last year, we hosted a record-breaking 41,000 people who hiked 72,442 miles in our state parks across the country when we launched America’s State Parks First Day Hikes,” said Priscilla Geigis, President of the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD).  “Think of it as the start of a new and healthy lifestyle, for the whole family. Whether you’re staying close to home or traveling, join us at one of America’s State Parks on New Year’s Day.”  

Iowa’s state parks boast a variety of beautiful settings for year-round outdoor recreation, and each First Day Hike will offer an opportunity to explore the unique natural and cultural treasures close to home. 

“Studies have proven that getting outdoors is one good way to relax and recharge the body, mind and spirit,” stated Lewis Ledford, NASPD’s executive director.  “We hope that hiking along a trail in a state park will become part of an individual’s or family’s regular exercise routine.”

Staff and volunteers will lead First Day Hikes in Iowa’s 17 participating state parks. Hikes will average one to two miles or longer depending on the location.  Details about the hikes can be found at www.iowadnr.gov/firstdayhikes  and to see a comprehensive map of First Day Hikes across the country, visit www.naspd.org

Iowa First Day Hikes will take place at the following 17 state parks:

 

NORTHWEST

Gitchie Manitou State Preserve

Stone State Park

Dolliver Memorial State Park

Brushy Creek State Recreation Area

Ledges State Park

Springbrook State Park

 

SOUTHWEST

Wilson Island State Recreation Area

Green Valley State Park

Waubonsie State Park

               

SOUTHEAST

Walnut Woods State Park

Honey Creek State Park

Honey Creek Resort

Lake Darling State Park

 

NORTHEAST

Backbone State Park

Mines of Spain State Recreation Area

Pikes Peak State Park

Yellow River State Forest

 

America's State Parks is committed to promoting outdoor recreation in state parks as a way to address obesity, especially among children.  Getting kids outside and unplugged from video games and other electronic media creates a unique connection with nature that promotes physical and mental well-being and encourages creativity and stewardship of our shared resources.

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