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Des Moines – Iowa State Parks will sponsor free, guided hikes in 19 state parks on New Year’s Day as part of the fifth annual First Day Hikes initiative.
“First Day Hikes are a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family,” said Todd Coffelt, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources State Parks Bureau. “What better place to ring in the New Year than in one of our beautiful state parks? We are excited to host First Day Hikes as part of this national effort to get people outdoors and get healthy.”
Iowa’s state parks boast a variety of beautiful settings for year-round outdoor recreation, and each First Day Hike will provide an opportunity to explore the unique natural and cultural treasures close to home.
Staff and volunteers will lead First Day Hikes in the following state parks:
NORTHWESTGitchie Manitou State PreserveStone State ParkDolliver Memorial State ParkBrushy Creek State Recreation AreaLedges State ParkSpringbrook State ParkPrairie Rose State Park
SOUTHWESTWilson Island State Recreation AreaGreen Valley State ParkWaubonsie State Park
SOUTHEASTWalnut Woods State ParkHoney Creek State ParkHoney Creek ResortLake Darling State Park
NORTHEASTBackbone State ParkMines of Spain State Recreation AreaPikes Peak State ParkYellow River State ForestMaquoketa Caves State Parks
Hikes will average one to two miles or longer depending on the location. Most of the hikes are pet friendly and welcome people of all ages.
“For those concerned about the big game that day, with the exception of one park, hikes will be completed before kickoff,” said Coffelt. “For those of you who aren’t interested in the Rose Bowl, we have another rose for you to consider. Prairie Rose State Park in Shelby County will hold a special owl prowl hike beginning at 5 p.m. Staff and hikers will do their best to call in owls or at least get them to ‘talk back’ during this special hike.”
First Day Hike participants are encouraged to log their adventures on social media with #FirstDayHikes and #IowaStateParks. Details about Iowa’s hikes can be found at www.iowadnr.gov/firstdayhikes
All 50 states will participate in this fifth annual event. To see a comprehensive map of First Day Hikes across the country, visit www.naspd.org