The Blue Hills Reservation State Park in Milton, Massachusetts founded the ‘First Day Hike’ over 20 years ago in order to promote healthy lifestyles and year round recreation throughout the nation’s state parks. This New Year’s Day 2012 is the first time the state park systems of all 50 states are participating in supporting this according to National Association of State Park Directors. Eight state park locations within the Wisconsin state park systems will be offering free guided hikes on January 1, 2012. Some specific events being held on January 1, 2012 near Milwaukee, Wisconsin include:
Lapham Peak Unit in the Kettle Moraine State Forest near Delafield will hold a First Day Hike event on a 3-mile trail, weather permitting. The trail is moderate rated in the park west of Hwy C. Hikers and outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds can enjoy the newly renovated Nature Center and extensive prairie restorations. Lapham Peak Unit State Park is the location for the highest point in Waukesha County upon which is located a 45-foot observation tower. Light refreshments and a campfire will be available afterward. Be sure to dress appropriately. If snowshoes are required for the days activities and you don’t have any, they can be rented from the “Wheel & Sprocket” building located in the park. Meet at the Nature Center parking lot at 11 am. Lapham Peak is 25 miles west of Milwaukee and 1 mile south of Interstate 94 near Delafield, on County Highway C. For information on other activities at Lapham Peak Unit during the First Day Hike event, please contact Russ at 262-968-4489.
Harrington Beach State Park is located in Belgium, Wisconsin about 35 miles north of Milwaukee and 21 miles south of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, via Interstate Highway 43. From I-43, take exit 107 (Belgium/Lake Church) and go east on County Highway D about 1 mile. The park entrance will be on your right. The First Day Hike at Harrington Beach State Park will be a 2-mile guided hike beginning at the Park Office between 9 and 11 am, weather permitting. There will be a hot chocolate stop along the way so the park is requesting that everyone RSVP in order to estimate the number of attendees. Other trails throughout the park will also be open for hiking.
If you want to venture away from Milwaukee and try a new park trail, additional First Day Hike events include:
Chippewa Moraine State Recreation Area in New Auburn at 10 am.
Council Grounds State Park in Merrill at 10 am.
Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo at 11 am.
High Cliff State Park in Sherwood at 9:30 am
Mirror Lake State Park at Lake Delton at 1pm
Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek at 10 am.
All hikes are about one to three miles and will be a great time to get acquainted with a new park or trail. Dress appropriately and bring snowshoes along if Mother Nature blesses us with snow by then.
(Resources include americasstateparks.org and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources)
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