Keeper of the Plans

Looking for a workout and a new T-shirt? Hike a state park on New Year’s Day

Where in the state of Kansas is Michael Pearce? (May 4, 2016)

This state park ranks as one of the most scenic in the nation, and has a world-class mountain bike and hiking trail.
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This state park ranks as one of the most scenic in the nation, and has a world-class mountain bike and hiking trail.

Not all of the fun of the New Year’s holiday has to be had on New Year’s Eve.

Nineteen Kansas state parks are hosting special “First Day Hikes” to help people start 2019 on a high note — and handing out free T-shirts to people who partake.

“It’s great for people to get out into nature on the first day of the year,” said Linda Lanterman, state park director for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. “We’ve found people who go on these First Day Hikes are very likely to come back and do more hiking throughout the year.”

State park staffers will be on hand to offer a not-so-difficult guided hike at the parks at various times on Wednesday.

Kansas has been hosting the event since 2012.

First day hike shirt.jpg
Participants in Kansas’ First Day Hikes will get this special T-shirt. Michael Pearce Courtesy

“For many, that First Day Hike has been the first time they’ve hiked in a state park,” Lanterman said in a news release. “It’s a fantastic introduction.”

Pets on leashes are welcome to participate, as well as children with adult supervision.

All participants in the hikes will get a free Kansas State Parks T-shirt.

Though the hikes themselves are free, hikers will still have to pay a $5 vehicle fee per car to get into the park for the day.

Each state park’s Facebook page will update if there are any weather-related changes or cancellations.

Here’s the First Day Hike information for the parks closest to Wichita:

Cheney State Park — 2 p.m. Meet at the park office for a 3/4-mile West Side Nature Trail hike. Easy to moderate terrain. All ages welcome.

El Dorado State Park — 1 p.m. Meet at the Walnut River Cabins for a two-mile Walnut River Trail hike. Easy to moderate terrain. All ages welcome.

Fall River State Park — 2 p.m. Meet at the Quarry Bay maintenance shop for a 3/4-mile Post Oak Trail hike. Moderate terrain. All ages.

Sand Hills State Park — 10 a.m. Meet at the park office/cabin for a one-mile Dune and Prairie trails hike. Easy to moderate terrain. All ages welcome.

Kanopolis State Park — 10 a.m. Meet at the park office for a 1.6-mile hike on the Split Boulder Trail. Easy terrain. All ages welcome.

For more information on First Day Hikes — or for details on other state parks — visit www.ksoutdoors.com or call 620-672-5911.

Matt Riedl covers arts and entertainment news for the Wichita Eagle and has done so since 2015. He maintains the Keeper of the Plans blog on Facebook, dedicated to keeping Wichitans abreast of all things fun.


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