The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is inviting the public to ring in the New Year by enjoying a guided hike through one of the state’s scenic state park lands.
First Day Hikes are scheduled at six Nebraska parks on New Year’s Day, part of a larger effort of the America’s State Parks alliance.
Bob Hanover, assistant parks division administrator, said the hikes are a great way to get outside, enjoy nature, exercise and enjoy time with friends and family. The hikes are 1-3 miles with varying degrees of difficulty.
Participants are encouraged to dress appropriately for the weather and bring drinking water and snacks. Pets are welcome on most of the hikes, but must be on a leash no more than six feet long. The hikes are designed to be family- friendly, but some may be challenging especially for small children and people pushing strollers.
More information about each of the hikes is available by visiting the “calendar” link at OutdoorNebraska.org. Vehicles entering the parks must have a 2016 park entry permit, available online at outdoornebraska.org, or from vendors across the state.
Information about Nebraska’s First Day Hikes (All times local):
Ash Hollow State Historical Park, Lewellen, 10 a.m., Picnic Grounds, 3 miles, easy. Informative hike about area history.
Chadron State Park, Chadron, 10 a.m., Sawmill Shelter, 2 miles, moderate. Agate Fossil Beds National Monument staff will join in leading an informative nature hike.
Fremont State Recreation Area, Fremont, 10 a.m., Tow Line Concession, 2.5 miles, easy. Nature hike will feature hot chocolate and a look at new facilities and trails.
Mahoney State Park, Ashland, 3 p.m., Kountze Memorial Theater, 1 mile, moderate. Bonfire will commemorate park’s 25th anniversary following the hike. Hot chocolate and popcorn available for 25 cents each.
Platte River State Park, Louisville, 9 a.m., Walter Scott Lodge, 1.5 miles, easy. Hot chocolate served after a hike through the woods.
Ponca State Park, Ponca, 2 p.m., The Riverfront, 1.4 miles, moderate/difficult. First installment of the Ponca State Park Hiking Marathon Challenge.