Des Moines – Iowa state parks will launch the New Year, which also is the start of the state park centennial year, with outdoor hikes across Iowa. First Day Hikes are being organized at 49 parks, the most to participate since the statewide event began nine years ago.
“First Day Hikes are the inaugural events of the centennial celebration, and we are so excited to spend this time outdoors with park visitors,” said Todd Coffelt, Parks, Forests and Preserves bureau chief at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “Even if you have never been on a winter hike or visited a state park, we invite you to join us for this special opportunity to exercise, enjoy nature, and welcome the New Year with friends and family.”
Last year, more than 1,400 people participated in hikes on New Year’s Day across Iowa, hiking more than 1,100 total miles at dozens of state parks. Hikers can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of nature in winter, and experience spectacular views, beautiful settings and the cultural treasures offered by Iowa’s state parks. Many parks will also provide hot beverages and snacks after the hike. Participants should dress for the weather, including warm, sturdy boots for winter conditions.
For a complete listing of First Day Hikes, visit www.iowadnr.gov/firstdayhikes.
Backbone State Park in northeast, Iowa, was dedicated on May 28, 1920 and marks the beginning of the Iowa state park system. The DNR is planning numerous special events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of state parks throughout 2020 with the goal of celebrating, connecting and inspiring Iowans to visit and care for parks. Look for more information on centennial celebration opportunities at www.iowadnr.gov/parks2020.