SD: State Parks Celebrate the New Year with First Day Hikes

PIERRE, S.D. – Start the New Year off right with a nature hike.
Four South Dakota State Parks are hosting hikes on New Year’s Day
as part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative.

America’s State Parks First Day Hikes offer individuals and
families opportunities to begin the New Year rejuvenating and
connecting with the outdoors by taking healthy hikes on Jan.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,” said State Parks
Director Doug Hofer. “The First Day Hikes are a great way to cure
cabin fever and burn off those extra holiday calories with an
invigorating walk or hike in one of our beautiful state parks.”

“What better way to kick off the New Year than with a hike at a
state park?” said Ruth Coleman, 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.”

The nationwide program was launched to promote both healthy
lifestyles throughout the year and year-round recreation at state
parks. This is the first time all 50 state park systems have joined
together to sponsor First Day Hikes.

In South Dakota, First Day hikes include:

Riddle Hike, Newton Hills State Park, sunrise to sunset

Grab your hiking boots, snowshoes or skis and head out to the park
for a self-guided winter adventure! Stop at the welcome center at
the park entrance during daylight hours and grab a scavenger hunt
list and instructions from the provided dispenser near the front
door. It will guide you to items strategically placed throughout
the park. See how many you can find. Fun for the whole family!
Info: 605-368-6824

Wonderful Winter Walk, Palisades State Park, 3 p.m. CT

Join us on a winter walk through Split Rock Creek Trail. Discover
nature in the winter. There will be snowshoes to try and fun
activities along the way. We’ll warm up with a fire and hot apple
cider and hot chocolate at the lodge afterwards. Dress for the
weather, with warm coats, gloves, hats, good winter walking
shoes/boots, and an extra pair of dry socks. The walk begins at the
lodge. Info: 605-594-3824

New Year’s Get out and Go, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, 1-4
p.m. CT

Grab your cross country skis, snowshoes or hiking boots and head
out to Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve from 1-4 p.m. CT. Stop
by the Visitor Center and grab a scavenger hunt list and
instructions from the provided dispenser near the front door. While
traveling on skis or foot, visitors will find items throughout the
park. A great way to get the family outdoors for some winter fun
and exercise! Info: 605-232-0873

First Day Out, Custer State Park, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. MT

Start the New Year with a refreshing self-guided trek on the trails
of Custer State Park. Stop at the Peter Norbeck Visitor Center
between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. MT, and we’ll help you on your way. Pick
up a scavenger hunt list, check out snowshoes for free, or grab a
trail guide to help you explore a new trail. Prizes to those who
finish the scavenger hunt. Info: 605-255-4464

In addition to those organized events, Hofer encourages people to
go to their local parks for hikes. South Dakota state parks are
open year-round, and the 2011 Park Entrance License is valid until

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

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.

The mission of the NASPD and America’s State Parks is to promote
and advance the state park systems of America for their own
significance, as well as for their important contributions to the
nation’s environment, heritage, health and economy.


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