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December 17, 2013

MADISON - People looking for an invigorating way to kick off the New Year can ring in 2014 with a First Day Hike Jan. 1 at one of nine Wisconsin State Park properties.

On a First Day Hike visitors can enjoy exciting treks on foot or on snowshoe through diverse, beautiful natural areas, led by park rangers and volunteers. Each event is unique and may include additional activities such as a campfire, cross-county ski opportunity, hot beverages, crafts, and storytelling. Check out the event listing for details about what activities will take place at each property.

America's State Parks and American Hiking Society are teaming up with state park programs across the country to promote First Day Hikes as a healthy and memorable way to start the New Year.

All 50 states are participating in the third annual event that invites families and friends to celebrate the New Year amid the sights, sounds and wonder of our natural world with fun, guided hikes.

In Wisconsin, First Day Hikes will be held at the following properties:

Details on the individual events are available by searching the DNR website for "Get Outdoors," and looking at the First Day Hikes listing on the Wisconsin State Park System events calendar.

2013 was the second year Wisconsin participated in First Day Hikes and more than 165 participants hiked a total of 396 miles, despite temperatures in the single digits throughout much of the state. For 2014, more State Park properties are hosting First Day events, which will include a twilight hike at Devil's Lake and a talk about the history of snowshoeing before the hike at High Cliff, says Brigit Brown, state trails coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources.

Nationwide last year, First Day Hikes hosted 22,000 people, who covered nearly 44,000 miles in 700 state parks all across the country, according to the National Association of State Park Directors.

"Winter hiking is a fun and wonderful experience, but does require all hikers to be properly prepared," noted Gregory Miller, president of American Hiking Society. "We are encouraging Americans young and old to ring in the New Year by putting on their hiking boots and joining First Day Hikes in support of state parks and trails in 2014." For helpful cold weather hiking tips, visit the American Hiking Society's website at (exit DNR).

All participants are encouraged to log their First Day Hike adventures on social media with the hash tag "#firstdayhikes."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brigit Brown - 608-266-2183 or Paul Holtan, 608-267-7517

Last Revised: Tuesday, December 17, 2013

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