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Contact: Bradley Block, 605-673-8300
Jewel Cave National Monument and Custer State Park are teaming up to offer First Day Hikes on Friday, January 1, 2016. The partnership complements a national campaign entitled Healthy Parks Healthy People, encouraging local enthusiasts and visitors to use public lands for physical activity. If you have made a New Year's Resolution that deals with exercise or healthier lifestyle changes, these events may help kick off 2016 in a positive way.
Jewel Cave is hosting a series of short snowshoe hikes for families on the one-quarter-mile Roof Trail, scheduled at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. The trail follows an easy path through a ponderosa pine forest. Participants will learn the basics of snowshoeing, as well as how to identify different wildlife signs during the winter season. Each hike starts at the visitor center. Reservations are not required;snowshoe equipment may be limited to first come first serve. The visitor center will be open for interested guests that do not wish to snowshoe; however, guided cave tours will not be available.
Custer State Park is offering a guided snowshoe hike on the three-mile Lover's Leap Trail at 10 a.m. The trail is easy to moderate, trekking through a ponderosa pine forest and creekside habitat. Participants follow a park naturalist through some amazing wintery landscapes, learning how parks play a vital role in healthy living. Participants should meet at the Peter Norbeck Visitor Center. Reservations are not required;however, a valid park entrance license is required on all vehicles and may be purchased at any of the park's entrance gates. A seven-day pass is $20, or an annual pass is $30.
If trail conditions prohibit the use of snowshoes, dry hikes will still take place at the same times and along the same routes. Participants are encouraged to dress warm and wear layered clothes. Due to limited amenities at each park site, participants should bring their own snacks and beverages.
Although Healthy Parks Healthy People US is based within the National Park Service, the program works with national, state, and local parks, as well as business innovators, healthcare leaders, scientists, foundations and advocacy organizations to foster and build-upon the role that parks play in the health of our society. Many people view parks as natural areas for vacations, relaxation, and nature enjoyment. With this renewed focus on health, numerous public land sites hope to bring about lasting change in Americans' relationship with nature and the outdoors.
For more information, contact Jewel Cave at (605) 673-8300 or e-mail us or Custer State Park at (605) 255-4515 or e-mail us. Jewel Cave is currently open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with guided cave tours on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The Peter Norbeck Visitor Center is closed for the winter season; however, Custer State Park is open daily, year round.