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Get fit at the most beautiful fitness centers in the state for a chance to win prizes.  

Indiana State Parks will again offer the popular annual Fitness Challenge.

The challenge encourages visitors to walk, run, bike, paddle or swim at least 25 miles, or ride on horseback 100 miles, by November 30. Those who do will be entered into a drawing for prizes, including a 2018 Annual Entrance Pass, Outdoor Indiana magazine subscriptions, DNR camping gift cards and State Park Inns gift cards.

As a bonus to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Indiana’s system of Nature Preserves this year, anyone who completes 50 miles of hiking inside state-dedicated nature preserves will be entered in a second drawing for prizes. The second drawing also includes an annual pass and gift cards.

More than 270 nature preserves have been dedicated since 1967, encompassing 50,000 acres in 70 of Indiana’s 92 counties. They are and owned and managed by 43 entities, including the DNR, land trusts, colleges and local park departments. Several are inside Indiana state parks. You can find a list at dnr.IN.gov/naturepreserve. 

Last year, Fitness Challenge participants hiked, biked, paddled or swam more than 25,000 miles combined. Almost 200 people completed 100 miles or more in recognition of the Indiana State Parks.

Indiana State Parks director Dan Bortner said state parks offer hundreds of miles of trails that wind past lakes, climb big hills, wander through deep forests and canyons, and explore prairies. Many locations also offer accessible hard-surface trails.

“All of these pathways offer opportunities for exercise,” Bortner said. “They also offer the added benefit of just being outdoors, where it is possible to shed the worries and challenges of daily life for a little while.”

Participants must download and keep a Fitness Challenge log that documents their visits to state parks. One change this year is that participants no longer need to get a signature from a park employee during each workout. Participation is based on the honor system.

The Waynedale News Staff
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