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Ring in the new year with some outdoor activity.

Those in the Menomonie area can get some exercise on New Year’s Day by hiking or cross-country skiing along the Red Cedar State Trail and Junction Trail.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is hosting a First Day Hike event from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday, beginning at the Red Cedar State Trail Depot Visitor Center, 921 Brickyard Road in Menomonie. Attendees can cross-country ski north on Junction Trail or hike south on the Red Cedar State Trail.

“Our focus is to get people outdoors, provide opportunities for outdoor recreation,” DNR park manager Calvin Kunkle said, “something that is easy and accessible and something that would be interesting for them too — that they could learn about within our community.”

The wildlife and history hike and ski will each cover about two miles total. Attendees will learn about the logging industry era and the railroad history, Kunkle said. History of the Red Cedar River, Riverside Park, the depot building engine house, Gilbert Creek, Dogtown and the lumber mills will be discussed during the venture.

First Day Hikes is a nationwide event promoted by the America’s State Parks alliance. Last year nearly 55,000 people hiked over 133,000 miles throughout the country on the guided hikes, according to America’s State Parks. The event in Menomonie is one of 13 in Wisconsin on New Year’s Day.

This will be the second year in row the hike is held at the trailhead, and last year’s event attracted 20 people, despite the event being limited to hiking because of little snow, Kunkle said.

State trail passes, which are required for skiing, will be available for purchase the day of the event. The visitor center will be open with restrooms available.

“It’s great to have folks come out and see these trails and get to experience something that they may not know before within their community and along the trail system,” Kunkle said.

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