MICHIGAN (WJMN) – Each year the Michigan Department of Natural Resources encourages everyone to get outdoors and join the national First Day Hikes program hosted by America’s State Parks.
The DNR says you can hike, cross-country ski, snowshoe, ride (horse or bike and add your miles to the collective goal of 2,022 miles hiked.
Maia Turek, engagement specialist, says the First Day Hikes gives people a great reason to get outdoors and enjoy their state parks.
“On the very first day of the year it’s a great time to kick off those New Year’s resolutions and we often talk about when you have a New Year’s Resolution its usually about you know I want to lose weight or I want to eat better and what’s great about first day hikes is it’s a great opportunity to say I want to be more adventurous this year, I want to explore more of Michigan,” said Turek. “So it’s a great way to still be focused on your health and fitness but in a fun way.”
Turek says many trails are open in the winter across the state.
“We are so fortunate to have volunteer groups, we have friends groups, we have volunteer groups that actually go out and do a lot of the grooming both for snowmobile and for cross country skiing,” said Turek. “But we also have some really great destinations in Michigan for snowshoeing, I actually often suggest to people, consider going to a closed campground because the campground might be closed but often they keep the parking lot plowed so you can just strap on your snowshoes and enjoy a really beautiful hike through a really beautiful wooded area but know that you’re not getting super adventurous and you can get back to your car pretty easily.”
She does recommend contacting the park ahead of time to check if the parking lot is plowed. There are a few organized hikes taking place in the lower peninsula. Turek recommends getting together with some of your favorite people to make the hike.
“The nice thing is is that we’ve actually created a virtual experience for first day hikes now where if you want to sign up you can just go online, well you go to Michigan.gov/winterfun and right on there it says ‘RSVP for the virtual first day hikes,'” said Turek.
The DNR also has a list of winter activities and events on their website. Blueberry Ridge Pathway will be hosting a lantern lit snowshoe / cross country ski event on January 7.