Iowa state parks will launch the New Year, which also is the start of the state park centennial year, with outdoor hikes across Iowa. First Day Hikes are being organized at 49 parks, the most to participate since the statewide event began nine years ago. Last year, more than 1,400 people participated in hikes on New Year’s Day across Iowa, hiking more than 1,100 total miles at dozens of state parks. Many parks will also provide hot beverages and snacks after the hike. Participants should dress for the weather, including warm, sturdy boots for winter conditions. Some of the parks in Southeast Iowa participating include Lake Darling, Geode, Lacey-Keosauqua and Lake Wapello. Backbone State Park in Northeast, Iowa, was dedicated on May 28th, 1920 and marks the beginning of the Iowa state park system. The DNR is planning numerous special events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of state parks throughout 2020 with the goal of celebrating, connecting and inspiring Iowans to visit and care for parks.