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first_imgStatewide—Usher in 2020 with other outdoor lovers at one of the many First Day Hikes offered Jan. 1 at Indiana’s state parks. First Day Hikes are a healthy way to start the new year and provide a chance to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and connect with friends.The guided hikes are organized by Indiana State Parks in cooperation with America’s State Parks. Hikes will take place in all 50 states. First Day Hikes originated more than 20 years ago at Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. The program was launched to foster healthy lifestyles and promote year-round recreation at state parks.First Day events at Indiana State Park properties in southeastern Indiana are (all times are local):-Brookville Lake, Mounds State Recreation Area, 4 p.m., Meet at the Campground Shelter (across from Wildlife Wander Trail), 0.7 miles, easy, approximately 45 minutes. This is an interactive hike during which Indiana wildlife will be discussed. A warm fire, hot cocoa, and S’mores will follow.  -Brown County State Park, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Meet at the Nature Center, 2 miles, 1.5 hours, bike it or hike it. Dress for the weather. This is a new hike, at your own pace, with plenty of space. Hikes will be set up through the time period listed. Interpretive stops will be offered along the way, including one for hot chocolate. -Clifty Falls State Park, 1 p.m., Meet at Poplar Grove Shelter for a 3-mile rugged hike to journey back through time. Hear how the park was formed, see two of the park’s waterfalls, and walk part of the old railroad path while discovering its unique story. This hike, which is for ages 8 and older, will take roughly 2 – 2 ½ hours — bring water and wear good hiking shoes. Cookies and water will be provided after the hike.-Falls of the Ohio State Park, 1 p.m., Meet at the Interpretive Center to hike the fossil beds. This 90-minute hike will go along the upper fossil beds and offer the chance to learn about Devonian sea life, and plants and animals that live along the river’s edge. Bring binoculars to look for winter birds. The Interpretive Center will open for a few minutes before and after the hike for access to restrooms and water fountains, but will otherwise be closed on Jan. 1. Inclement weather will cancel the program due to the hazardous nature of a slippery, uneven, rocky surface. A $2 pay-to-park fee applies, but the program is free.-Versailles State Park, noon, Meet at the Oak Grove parking lot by the Trail 2 kiosk for hot chocolate and cider. At 12:30 p.m., the 2.75-mile hike over moderate terrain will start. Wear hiking shoes and appropriate clothes for the weather.-Whitewater Memorial State Park, 1 p.m., Meet at the Poplar Grove Shelter, 2.5 miles/moderate, approximately 90 minutes. While you hike, join in a trivia game with your friends and family. A warm fire, hot cocoa, and s’mores will follow.If you don’t see the property nearest you listed, check calendar.dnr.IN.gov for updates.last_img read more