Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 18, 2018

Lake Darling plans New Year’s hike

Dec 26, 2017

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


BRIGHTON — While the point of the third annual First Day Hike at Lake Darling State Park is to help people kick off 2018 in a healthy manner, park ranger Zach Haworth said that he may also get the chance to show hikers the new bridge being constructed in the park.

Haworth said last year about 150 people came out to “start the year outdoors.” While a couple of other state parks in Iowa beat that number, it was an impressive count. Haworth hopes to top the number this year and to show park attractions to participants in a season when people may not always get to see the park.

“So far each year we have been able to increase the number of folks who have attended,” Haworth said. “If the weather holds out we hope to have a big crowd again.”

The event begins at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 1, 2018 at the Lake Darling State Park lodge. Trails for the hike have yet to be determined. Haworth said it is a good chance to enjoy the winter solitude of Lake Darling with park staff and the Friends of Lake Darling. The Hike will travel past the new Four-Seasons cabins. After the hike, the Friends of Lake Darling will serve refreshments at the lodge.

“This is a national event,” Haworth said. “There are parks in all 50 states doing it. The National Association of State Park directors is the national organizer of the event and they keep statistical data on it. In Iowa we have 24 state parks participating this year. It is a pretty unique event. some parks do the hikes early in the morning while others do them in the afternoon or evening. There is an equestrian park that has a horse ride on Jan. 1. It just depends on the area and the things they hope to highlight. The end goal is to get people out and start 2018 on a positive note.”

Haworth said the event would be held no matter the weather conditions. He is sure the temperature will be pretty cold on Jan. 1, but said this is an event to get people’s year started the right way. He said many people make resolutions to be healthier, or get in better shape. He said the hike is a great way to start that resolution.

“I think it is a unique time to see the park,” Haworth said. “It is a whole different park in the offseason than people are accustomed to see in the summertime. All the leaves are off the trees. You can look back into the timbers and see the natural landscape. It will give people a perspective on the park they might not otherwise get.”



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