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Celebrate the new year with a winter hike at these Ohio state parks

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Posted at 7:51 AM, Dec 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-30 08:03:40-05

Buckeyes (and Hoosiers and Kentuckians willing to drive a bit) can get a jump start on those New Year's resolutions to drop a few pounds or live healthier with these hikes scheduled for this weekend at some of Ohio's 74 state parks.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) says getting outdoors is an ideal way to relieve stress and boost mood levels. It has several New Year’s Day hikes scheduled and plenty of activities planned throughout the month of January. See the full list at the website here

ODNR's new Explore Ohio initiative is aimed at encouraging people to exercise outdoors and become healthier in the process. Participants can track their miles, share their photos and create friends groups on the Explore Ohio website here

New Year’s Eve Night Hike at Maumee Bay State Park (near Toledo) – The second annual New Year's Eve Night Hike at the Maumee Bay State Park Nature Center kicks off at 7 p.m. and lasts through 9 p.m. Hikers will test their night vision on the boardwalk and celebrate the New Year outdoors in nature. All ages are welcome, make sure to dress for the weather. The address for Maumee Bay State Park is 1400 State Park Rd., Oregon 43616. For more information, call (419) 836-7758.

New Year’s Day Hike at Hueston Woods State Park (near Oxford) – Join a naturalist for a hike through an old-growth forest from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. Meet at the nature center at Hueston Woods State Park at 1 p.m., and then caravan to the trail head. Hueston Woods State Park is located at 6301 Park Office Rd., College Corner 45003. Contact the nature center at (513) 524-4250 with any questions.

First Day Hike at Caesar Creek State Park (near Waynesville) – Meet the park naturalist at the nature center on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, for a three-mile guided hike to the park’s new swinging bridge and scenic Horseshoe Falls. Discover wildlife and park history along the way. This event will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. For more information, call (513) 897-3055. Caesar Creek State Park is located at 8570 E. State Route 73, Waynesville 45068.

New Year’s Day Hike at Salt Fork State Park (near Cambridge) – Spend New Year’s Day outside at Salt Fork State Park. Join a naturalist-led hike on Morgan’s Knob Loop trail. Dress for the weather and kick off the new year in a healthy way. The hike begins at 1 p.m., and people should meet at the trail parking lot. Salt Fork State Park is located at 14755 Cadiz Rd., Lore City 43755. For questions, call the park office at (740) 439-3521.

First Day Hike at Shawnee State Park (near Portsmouth) – Begin the new year with an outdoor experience on this easy one-mile loop trail through an oak hickory woodland setting with a naturalist. Meet in the lobby of the lodge at Shawnee State Park at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. Afterward, warm up in the lodge with some hot chocolate and freshly baked cookies in front of a fireplace surrounded by holiday cheer. The address for the Shawnee Lodge and Conference Center is 4404B State Route 125, West Portsmouth 45663. For questions, contact the state park office at (740) 858-6652. 

Winter Hike at Dillon State Park (near Zanesville) – Join the group at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, in the parking lot in front of the naturalist cabin to hike some of the many trails at Dillon State Park, located at 5265 Dillon Hills Drive, Nashport 43830. There will be two guided hikes, with the first hike starting at 10 a.m., and the second hike starting at noon. Both hikes will be 1.5 to 2 miles long. For more information, contact the park office at (740) 453-4377, ext. 100.

Birds of Winter at Burr Oak State Park (near Athens) – Winter is a great time to identify birds. Participants will search for our Ohio winter bird residents from 10 a.m. to noon at Burr Oak State Park on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017. People participating should meet in the lodge lobby, bring binoculars and dress warmly. Burr Oak State Park is located at 10220 Burr Oak Lodge Road, Glouster 45732. For questions, contact the state park office at (740) 767-3570.

Explore the Day Hike Trail at Shawnee State Park (near Portsmouth) – Enjoy a four-mile hike through Shawnee State Forest with one incredible view on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017. There will be one 400-foot climb so people should bring their hiking sticks and wear sturdy hiking shoes. Pack snacks and water. Hikers should meet at noon in the lodge lobby at Shawnee State Park, and the hike will last until 3 p.m. The address for the Shawnee Lodge and Conference Center is 4404B State Route 125, West Portsmouth 45663. For questions, contact the state park office at (740) 858-6652. 

Fireside Chat: Great Nature Reads at Burr Oak State Park (near Athens) – The naturalist will give some nature-themed book recommendations for both adults and young children on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, at Burr Oak State Park at 3:30 p.m. This event will be ongoing by the lodge fireplace, and visitors are encouraged to bring their own recommendations to share. Burr Oak State Park is located at 10220 Burr Oak Lodge Rd., Glouster 45732. For questions, contact the state park office at (740) 767-3570.