First Day Hike Program helps kick off New Years Resolutions
Tue, 12/29/2020 - 12:46pm caleb
Winter Hiking program hosted by America’s State Parks encourages outdoor activities
Kinzie Nena | Staff Writer
America’s State Parks and the Department of Natural Resources have started this year’s campaign to encourage Michiganders and people across the country to hit the snow trails this New Year’s Day for the First Day Hike event.
The goal of the First Day Hike is to provide an oppurtunity for individuals and families to exercise, connect with nature and create new traditions for years to come. This year there are few new standards for continuing the hike during COVID-19; little has changed except reminders to use safe distance practices and to hike with members from your household or small groups, and wear a mask around others from outside your household.
“Last year nearly 85,000 people rang in the New Year, collectively hiking over 176,366 miles throughout the country on the guided hikes. Numerous others hiked state park trails throughout the day,” according to Stateparks.org.
Last year’s First Day Hike statistics concluded that with those numbers that equals two miles per hiker, with enough calories burned to equal 41,348 fast-food burgers, seven trips around the equator, and a grand total of 415,693,531 steps taken.
There are a variety of trails here in Northern Michigan and Crawford County that have been maintained for such an event and can be found at our state parks and community. This event is not limited to purely hiking and trekking but snowshoers, crosscountry skiiers, winter biking, winter horseback riding, and all outdoor enthusiasts.
At Hanson Hills two trails are open for snowshoeing: the Easy Rider Trail that consists of 2 miles of intermediate hills, and the Overlook Trail that is 2.9 miles that boasts an excellent view from the main hilltop ridge overlooking Grayling, according to the Grayling Recreational Authority. Snowshoe rentals are available at the Main Lodge on a first-come, first-serve basis from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m and cost $15 per person.
The DNR website encourages those who wish to partake in the First Day Hike to remember to always dress appropriately for the weather and conditions, hike with a partner, or make sure you let someone know where you plan to hike and when you should be on and off the trail.
You can register at Stateparks.org to get your miles counted towards the 2021 national total. The goal is to reach 2,021 miles. It is a great oppurtunity to enjoy the natural beauty during our winter season and get outdoors doing something that is both physically and mentally positive that helps rejuvinate and reinvigorate the mind and body, and promote mental and physical health and wellness, according to Stateparks.org.
The DNR websites reminds hikers that the First Day Hike is not a competition but a good oppurtunity to get outdoors. For more information you can contact Elissa Buck at Bucke1@michigan.gov or call (989) 313-0000.