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Custer Park Hikers Step Into New Year In Style

January 1, 2014, 10:52 PM by Kevin Woster

Custer Park Hikers Step Into New Year In Style

An early morning power outage offered a dim beginning when people gathered at the Custer State Park visitor's center for their New Year's Day hike.

But it didn't darken any spirits. There was plenty of light outside.

"A lot of people stay home and watch football games. But there's so much to be offered in the outdoors that a person should take advantage of it when you can when the weather's nice," hiker Jon Holmgren of Rapid City said. "It's just a beautiful place to be."

It was one of many beautiful places experienced by the public on a day that featured winter hikes at parks in South Dakota and other states. South Dakota took part in the America's State Parks First Day Hike initiative, which is aimed at getting more people outdoors.

The plan worked for 15 people and two dogs here in South Dakota's premier state park. Led by winter park volunteer Ann Sperry, hikers covered a casually paced two-mile stroll that included stops at historic park buildings and aesthetic experiences along Grace Coolidge Creek.

After beginning her day in a powerless visitor's center, Sperry was energized by the spirit of hikers who clearly didn't want to be anywhere else on the first day of the year.

Even the weather cooperated, with only a scattering of snow and temperatures that broke 20.

"It's not bad. I'm from Oklahoma, so I don't know, South Dakota people may love this out here," Sperry said. "I'm enjoying it."

So were the others, who stepped into the New Year in outdoor style.

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