Wisconsin DNR hopes hikers hit the trails in 2018 - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Wisconsin DNR hopes hikers hit the trails in 2018

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Dunn County (WQOW)- The new year brings new changes to explore the Badger State, and the Wisconsin DNR is encouraging everyone to grab their snow shoes.

On Monday the Wisconsin DNR kicked off the new year with the First Day Hike. The annual New Year's Day event is held at state parks and trails all over the nation. This year it stepped on to the Red Cedar Trail near Menomonie for the first time.

Organizers said it's meant to get people to go out and explore some of the state's natural areas and natural history. While park staff were out ready to hit the snow, unfortunately hikers weren't as enthusiastic this year to brave the temps and no one showed up. Still, organizers said the trails are here to be used all year long.

"Here, Dunnville Wildlife Area and the river is kind of the epicenter of a lot of history, with Native Americans, with the history of the logging era. There's quite a few different sites along the trail that you can see, just north of here that you can see just within a mile hike," said Park Ranger Calvin Kunkle.

This is the seventh year the Wisconsin State Park System joined the First Day Hike, it was the largest year yet with seventeen different parks across the state participating, although some did cancel because of the cold weather. Last year nearly 700 people hiked the trails the first of the year.

A similar event will be held on January 26 for cross-country skiing. The event is scheduled to begin at 6:00 at the Depot of the Red Cedar State Trail on Highway 29 W. Friends of the Red Cedar State Trail/Hoffman Hills will provide free hot chocolate and door prizes.

Contact the DNR for more information at 715-232-1242.

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