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Start the New year Healthy: Montana Families Encouraged to Participate in First Day Hikes

(Helena, MT) – Montana State Parks (stateparks.mt.gov) announced today that it will join state parks across the country by encouraging Montana families to participate in guided ‘First Day Hikes’ on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2013.

This exciting, special event gives Montanans an opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike at a state park.

“Our state parks are beautiful in the winter and Montanans know the thrill of embracing the cold weather outdoors,” said Chas Van Genderen, Administrator for Montana State Parks. “First Day Hikes are a great way to get outside, exercise and kick off the New Year with friends and family.”

Van Genderen will be participating in the ‘First Day Hikes’ event at Spring Meadow Lake State Park in Helena.

‘First Day Hikes’ is an annual, nationwide special event sponsored by America’s State Parks (http://www.americasstateparks.org/) . Last year, approximately 14,000 people participated nationwide and covered more than 30,000 miles in state parks in all.

Montana State Parks ‘First Day Hikes’:

Hikers should dress for the winter weather, wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots appropriate to the conditions, and bring water and snacks

Glendive
Makoshika State Park – January 1
Hike begins at 11 a.m. Meet at the visitor center to hike the Bluebird Trail that leads through winter formations carved into the snow drifts by the wind. A park ranger will lead the tour and share information about the park’s unique geology, wildlife and history. Hot chocolate will be provided at the end of the hike. For more information, call Park Manager Ryan Sokoloski at 406-377-6256.
Address: 1301 Snyder Ave., Glendive
Directions: http://stateparks.mt.gov/makoshika/

Billings
Lake Elmo State Park – January 1
Hike begins at 1 p.m. Meet in the FWP Billings headquarters office parking lot for a hike of nearly 1.5 miles. Snowpack permitting, cross-country skis or snowshoes may be used on the trail that runs next to Lake Elmo. Wildlife viewing may include waterfowl, pheasant and deer. For more information, call Park Manager Terri Walters at 406-247-2940.
Address: 2300 Lake Elmo Dr., Billings
Directions: http://stateparks.mt.gov/lake-elmo/

Bozeman/Butte
Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park – January 1
Hike begins at 10 a.m. Meet at the main visitor center on the lower level for a moderate hike of 2-3 miles, depending on the weather. For more information, call Park Manager Lynette Kemp at 406-287-3541.
Address: 25 Lewis & Clark Caverns Rd., Whitehall
Directions: http://stateparks.mt.gov/lewis-and-clark-caverns/

Great Falls
First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park – January 1
Hike begins at noon. Meet at the visitor center for a 3.5 mile hike. First Day hikers will learn about the history of First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park and see some amazing vistas. For more information, call Park Manager Richard Hopkins at 406-866-2219.
Address: 342 Ulm-Vaughn Rd., Ulm
Directions: http://stateparks.mt.gov/first-peoples-buffalo-jump/

Helena
Spring Meadow Lake State Park – January 1
Hike begins at 10 a.m. Meet at the park entrance on Broadwater Ave. off of Country Club Ave. Join the park’s staff for a short hike around the lake to watch wildlife and hear about the park’s history. For more information, call Ken Soderberg at 406-444-3701.
Address: 2715 Country Club Drive, Helena
Directions: http://stateparks.mt.gov/spring-meadow-lake/
 

Kalispell
Lone Pine State Park – January 1
Hike begins at 11 a.m. Hikers will tour trails throughout the park and enjoy a warming fire by the picnic shelter. Adults and kids should be up for a 1-2 mile hike in a forested area populated by song birds, squirrels, and white-tailed deer. For more information, call Park Manager Amy Grout at 406-755-2706.
Address: 300 Lone Pine Rd., Kalispell
Directions:http://stateparks.mt.gov/lone-pine/

For more information about ‘First Day Hikes’, visit:
http://www.americasstateparks.org/first-day-hikes

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