By Mike Kruzman /

If getting more exercise or spending more time outside are on your short list of potential New Year’s resolutions, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has just the event to get started.

The Michigan DNR is joining with America’s State Parks in inviting residents to take part in the national First Day Hike. The First Day Hike is an opportunity to not only hike, but also snowshoe, ride a horse, or ride a bike on January 1st and add your miles to those of others doing the same. The DNR has set a collective goal of 2,022 miles.

Participants can sign up online and then choose their own self-guided route and distance on any non-motorized trail, logging their actual distance when they finish.

Alternatively, several state parks are holding special events that day, including Island Lake State Park, locally. Guests are encouraged to meet up at the Kent Lake Beach parking lot there just before 1pm for a group-led hike along the Hickory Ridge Hiking Trail. If the weather is warm, the hike will go on for 5 miles with an easy-out at the halfway point. In the case of extreme weather, the group will be led to the 2.5-mile exit. Participants are encouraged to bring cold weather gear and appropriate footwear, with hiking poles and cleats recommended if it is icy.

More information on the Island Lake event and First Day Hike in general can be found at,4570,7-350-79119_79734_78681-573036--,00.html

Photo: Michigan DNR