Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

January 7, 2014

First Day Hikes draw 1,200-plus to state parks

Westside Flyer

---- — More than a thousand hardy hikers took to the trails on New Year’s Day for First Day activities at dozens of state parks and reservoir properties.

“First Day Hikes focus a spotlight on state park systems and their value in conserving natural and cultural resources and providing great places for outdoor recreation and exercise,” said Dan Bortner, director of the DNR Division of State Parks & Reservoirs. “Our staff and volunteers did a great job promoting and hosting our hikes this year, and we hope Hoosiers make visits to Indiana state parks and reservoirs a habit in 2014.”

The family-friendly, guided hikes at 30 DNR-managed sites were organized by the Division of State Parks & Reservoirs in cooperation with America’s State Parks and the National Association of State Park Directors. According to America’s State Parks, First Day Hikes were scheduled in all 50 states this year.

Getting outdoors was the objective of the day at Indiana’s events, and 1,207 people did.

Monroe Lake drew the most with 207 runners and walkers turning out for a Fitness Trail Run/Walk event. Participants had the option of a 4-mile or 1.33-mile wooded course.

Mounds State Park had the next biggest group with 130 people taking an evening hike on an illuminated trail.

Shakamak State Park had 127 visitors who warmed up around a campfire and refreshments after their 1.5-mile hike on the park’s paved road.

Eight other parks had more than 40 participants each, including Pokagon State Park, where 75 people followed their hike to Lake Lonidaw with a ride on the park’s toboggan slide.

Thirteen horseback riders took part in a unique First Day ride through Tippecanoe River State Park.