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Kansas parks take part in First Day Hikes program

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, at 9:25 p.m.

After a festive New Year’s Eve, what better way to start 2013 than with a brisk hike on New Year’s Day?

At least that’s what the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism is hoping.

Five state parks will participate in a national “First Day Hikes” program. First Day Hikes are a series of guided hikes through state parks, typically around one or two miles, led by park officials or volunteers on New Year’s Day. First Day Hikes are scheduled in all 50 states.

The Kansas parks participating are Cross Timbers State Park, Eisenhower State Park, Elk City State Park, Kaw River State Park and Tuttle Creek State Park.

The hikes themselves are free, but visitors must have a park permit to get in to all parks except Kaw River, which does not require one. A daily permit is $5 starting Jan. 1.

Participants are encouraged to wear appropriate clothing and footwear and bring binoculars, cameras, snacks and a water bottle.

Here are the details on each of the hikes:

• Cross Timbers State Park, Toronto Reservoir. Hike (1.25 miles, easy) will begin at 1:30 p.m. Participants will meet at the Overlook Trailhead, on the east side of the dam. 620-637-2213.

• Eisenhower State Park, Melvern Reservoir. Hike (2 miles, moderate difficulty) will begin at 10 a.m. Participants will meet at the Crooked Knee Trailhead, west of the park office. 785-528-4102.

• Elk City State Park, Elk City Reservoir. Hike (1 mile, easy to moderate difficulty) will begin at 1 p.m. Participants will meet at the park office. 620-331-6295.

• Kaw River State Park, Topeka. Hike (1.5 to 2 miles, easy to moderate difficulty) will begin at 1 p.m. Participants will meet at the Region 2 office of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. 785-271-7346.

• Tuttle Creek State Park, Manhattan. Hike (1.5 miles, easy) will begin at 1 p.m. Participants will meet at the state park office. 785-539-7941.

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