STATE PARK PROPERTIES OFFER NEW YEAR’S DAY HIKES

Usher in 2019 with other outdoor lovers at one of the many First Day Hikes offered Jan. 1 at Indiana’s state parks.

First Day Hikes are a healthy way to start 2019 and a chance to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and connect with friends.

Information on First Day events in Indiana is at StateParks.IN.gov/2420.htm

The guided hikes are organized by Indiana State Parks in cooperation with America’s State Parks. Hikes will take place in all 50 states.

First Day Hikes originated more than 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. The program was launched to foster healthy lifestyles and promote year-round recreation at state parks.

First Day events at Indiana State Park properties are (all times are local):

Chain O’Lakes State Park, 2 to 4 p.m.: Meet the park’s naturalists at the boat rental parking lot for hike around the winter landscape. Two lengths of hikes are available. Hot cocoa and snacks will be served afterward.

Indiana Dunes State Park, 10 to 11 a.m.: Meet at the nature center for a special 3-Dune Challenge covering 1.5-miles. At the end, park volunteers will welcome hikers with snacks and a fire provided by the Friends of the Indiana Dunes group.

Mississinewa Lake, 5 p.m.: Meet at Miami State Recreation Area’s Bostwick Pond for a 1-mile hike that will last about 30 minutes. S’mores and a fire will be available after the hike. Advance registration is requested by calling 260-468-2127.

Ouabache State Park, 3 p.m. The hike will start and end at the bison enclosure parking lot. Hike will be on Trail 1, around the bison enclosure, with a stop at the feeding station where guests will be able to observe American bison up-close. It’s an easy trail with a gravel surface, but there are a few wet areas—boots or tennis shoes are recommended. Pets must be leashed.

Pokagon State Park, 2 to 2:30 p.m.: Meet at the nature center for an easy stroll to look at the winter landscape. The event will end with a bonfire and hot cocoa.

Potato Creek State Park, 1 to 3 p.m.: Meet at nature center for a group photo before a one-hour moderate hike. Warm up in the Peppermint Hill Shelter afterward with hot drinks and s’mores.

Salamonie Lake, 10:30 a.m. to noon: Meet at Salamonie River State Forest’s interpretive center for a leisurely stroll on Salamonie’s tree trail. Advance registration is requested by calling 260-468-2127.

For more information, visit America’s State Parks website stateparks.org.

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