WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- If you are like the majority of Americans who are choosing a New Year's resolution along the lines of “get in shape” or “get more active,” the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is here to help.
Today 49 state parks across Iowa are launching the new year with “first day hikes”. The DNR said hikers can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of nature in the winter with beautiful views and also hot beverages and snacks after the hike.
This is the ninth annual First Day Hike for Iowa, but this one is extra special because it's the state parks centennial. 100 years ago, in 1920, the first official state park was founded in Northeast Iowa.
“Getting outdoors and being active is one of the themes we want to carry through, but we're focusing on celebrating that anniversary, getting people to connect with the park, and inspiring them to be a part of what makes that park special,” Todd Coffelt, Chief of the State Parks, Forests and Preserves Bureau said.
You can find out where and when all the hikes are taking place here. They are located all across the state with many in Central Iowa.
“The staff have done a great job. They've stepped forward and each park is operating or hosting their own hike. So they've set the time. We have one as early as 8 a.m. and one as late as 6 p.m. That will be at Prairie Rose State Park and that will be an owl prowl. So as it gets dark we will have a naturalist and she will lead the hike getting the owls to call back,” Coffelt said.
Last year more than 1,400 people participated in hikes on New Year’s Day in our state hiking more than 1,100 total miles at dozens of state parks. The weather was much worse in 2019. Iowa hit a record low of -19 degrees on January 1st of last year. This year should be much better for these hikes, with a high around 46 degrees.