The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is encouraging people to get out in nature and move on Jan. 1. The department is hoping Michiganders will sign up online and collectively log 2,022 as part of the “First Day Hikes” program.
Maia Turek is an engagement and innovation specialist for the DNR. She says the program is a good way for people to kick off their New Year’s resolutions.
“One of the things I have found about Michigan is that we have some amazing trails in our own neighborhoods you might not know about.” –Maia Turek, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
“We often think about Jan. 1 as the day we start the new diet, or the day we start our new fitness routine. Well, wouldn’t it be fun if our New Year’s resolution was, ‘Today’s the day I start new adventures?’” Turek says.
Participants aren’t limited to hiking; they can also ride a bike or go cross country skiing, weather permitting. Some state parks are offering guided outings, but most people are expected to do their own excursions.
“First Day Hikes is a perfect way to find a new place that maybe you’ve never been to before and take a walk. It’s easy. It’s something that as long as you have shoes, you can even just go outside and walk your own neighborhood,” Turek says.
As for those looking to venture beyond their own street, Turek says, “I would highly recommend that you not only look at your local state park or recreation area, but also find out what your county or township parks might offer as well. Because one of the things I have found about Michigan is that we have some amazing trails in our own neighborhoods you might not know about.”
For those who want to log miles with others, there are a few in-person events scheduled around the state: Maybury State Park in Northville; Island Lake Recreation Area in Brighton; and on the west side of the state, Yankee Springs in collaboration with the Noonday Chapter of the North Country Trail Association and Saugatuck Dunes.
First Day Hikes is just the beginning of a season of winter activity, Turek says. To find out more outdoor activities to do this winter, go to michigan.gov/winterfun. To register for First Day Hikes, go to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ website.