(UNDATED) - Usher in the New Year with other outdoor lovers at one of the many First Day Hikes, and one First Day Horse Ride, offered January 1 at Indiana's state parks and reservoirs.
First Day Hikes are a healthy way to start 2014 and a chance to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and connect with friends. The family-friendly, guided hikes are organized by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources in cooperation with America's State Parks.
According to America's State Parks, First Day Hikes will be held in all 50 states in 2014. Last year, state parks across the country hosted 22,000 people who hiked a combined 43,911 miles.
"Think of it as the start of a new and healthy lifestyle, for the whole family," said Priscilla Geigis, president of the National Association of State Park Directors.
DNR's Division of State Parks & Reservoirs is hosting 30 First Day events throughout the state, including a trail run/walk at Monroe Lake, and a First Day Horse Ride at Tippecanoe River State Park.
Information on First Day events in Indiana is at dnr.IN.gov/parklake/files/sp-first_day_hikes.pdf
First Day events at Indiana State Parks & Reservoirs are:
* Brookville Lake, Mounds State Recreation Area: Meet at 1 p.m. at the picnic shelter on the Mounds SRA campground road to hike the 0.7-mile Wildlife Wander Trail.
* Brown County SP: Meet at 10 a.m. at the nature center for a half-mile hike.
* Chain O'Lakes SP: Meet at 6 p.m. at the campground general store for a 3/4-mile "Chain O' Lights" walk.
* Charlestown SP: Meet at 1 p.m. the trailhead for Trail 5.
* Clifty Falls SP: Meet at 10 a.m. at Clifty Inn for an hour hike along the canyon rim and uplands.
* Falls of the Ohio SP: Meet at 1 p.m. on the interpretive center deck. The hike will be determined based on weather and river levels.
* Fort Harrison SP: Meet at 2 p.m. at the park office for a 2.5-mile hike on Schoen Creek Trail.
* Hardy Lake: Meet at 11 a.m. at the Island Loop main trailhead for a 2-mile, moderately rugged hike.
* Harmonie SP: Meet at 10 a.m. Central Time in the pool parking lot for a 2-mile walk on the paved bicycle trail.
* Indiana Dunes SP: Meet at 10 a.m. Central Time at the nature center for a moderate to rugged hike through the high dunes, including Mt. Tom. The event ends with a fire and refreshments.
* Lieber SRA (Cagles Mill Lake): Meet at 9 a.m. at the Hilltop Shelter for a two-mile hike to Laughing Deer Marsh, followed by nature programs, face painting and a chance to hug Smokey Bear.
* Lincoln SP: Meet at noon Central Time at the nature center for a mile hike around Lake Lincoln.
* McCormick's Creek SP: Meet at 2 p.m. at the Canyon Inn lobby for a photo safari in the canyon. Distance is ½ to ¾ mile. Refreshments will be provided afterward.
* Monroe Lake: Start time for the fitness trail run/walk is 3 p.m. Day-of registration and check-in is from 2 to 2:45 p.m. at the Bayview Shelter across from the Fourwinds Resort. Registration costs $10. Those who register in advance through InRunCo.com/firstday receive a goody bag. Participants can choose from a 1.3-mile or 4-mile course.
* Mounds SP: Hikers eager to roast their first marshmallow of the year can meet at 6 p.m. at the visitors center fire ring. The park will offer a 45-minute hike on an illuminated trail, with departure times at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
* O'Bannon Woods SP: Meet at 1 p.m. at the nature center as the park takes its resident oxen on a one-mile walk on a paved road, followed by refreshments and a chance to help feed and brush the animals.
* Ouabache SP: Meet at 11 a.m. at the bison enclosure for a hike around the enclosure, followed by a short bison program and a bison feeding session.
* Patoka Lake: Meet at 9 a.m. at the beach for a 1-mile "Resolution Walk."
* Pokagon SP: Meet at 1 p.m. at the Potawatomi Inn's Lonidaw Lounge for a hike to Lake Lonidaw, then up to the toboggan run for a fire and refreshments.
* Potato Creek SP: Meet at 10 a.m. at the Quaking Aspen East Parking Lot for a 1-mile hike.
* Prophetstown SP: Meet at 2 p.m. at the visitors center/park office for a 2-mile hike through prairie, ending at the Native American village for a fire and refreshments at the council house.
* Raccoon Lake: Meet at 11 a.m. at the front gate parking lot for a 1-mile stroll on the archery trail.
* Salamonie Lake: Meet at 2 p.m. at Salamonie River State Forest for a 1-mile hike. Registration is requested by calling (260) 468-2127.
* Shades SP: Meet at 3 p.m. at Hickory Shelter for a very rugged 3/4 -mile hike through one of the park's ravines, followed by refreshments. Hiking crampons are suggested.
* Shakamak SP: Meet at the log cabin at 1 p.m. for a 1.5-mile hike on paved roads, followed by a fire and refreshments.
* Spring Mill SP: Meet at 1 p.m. at the Tulip Poplar/Oak Ridge parking area for an easy 1.75-mile hike on Trail 7.
* Summit Lake SP: Meet at noon at the beach parking lot for a 3/4-mile walk.
* Tippecanoe River SP: Meet at 10 a.m. at the horseman's campground for a horse ride, followed by a pitch-in lunch. Riders must provide their own horses.
* Turkey Run SP: Meet at 10:30 a.m. at the Inn for a 2-mile hike to look for eagles, icicles and frozen waterfalls, with hot refreshments along the way.
* Versailles SP: Meet at the park office between 1:15 and 1:30 p.m. for the 2 p.m. hike. Everyone will drive to the Schimmerhorn parking lot to begin the 3-mile hike with some hilly terrain. Views of Laughery Valley offer the potential to see eagles.
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