KALISPELL — Hikers in the Flathead Valley are being encouraged to hit the trails at local state parks for a friendly New Year’s Competition starting on Friday.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) is organizing a friendly competition in the Flathead Valley to encourage a healthy start to the new year.
Hikers are encouraged to log their miles for the entire month of January at Lone Pine State Park in Kalispell or Wayfarers, West Shore, and Big Arm State Park on Flathead Lake.
FWP spokesman Dillon Tabish says the individual hikers with the most miles at each park will receive a prize. “Just a fun way to get folks out enjoying their state parks and supporting their favorite park to,” Tabish said.
He added that clipboards will be available at each park's trailhead for hikers to log down miles. Tabish says hikers are encouraged to track miles using a smartphone application or referencing the signage at each park’s trailhead.
“You know there’s not going to be anything super official here where we’re winding down to the decimal point, but if folks just kind of keep track of ‘oh we just did 2.5 miles here’ and write their name and number down it will just be a fun way to kind of keep track of those miles,” Tabish explained.
Tabish says the Battle of the Boots replaces the annual First Day hikes which were canceled this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. He noted that hikers should still be COVID-19 aware if decide to log miles for the competition.
“If you do come up on a park trail that is crowded, we ask that you maybe come back later or try a different trail because we don’t want to increase crowds on these trails as well, we still want to maintain our social distancing and keeping this to be a fun, safe, activity,” Tabish said.
Lone Pine State Park in Kalispell offers 7.5 miles of trails for those looking to get a head start on Friday. FWP officials say the winners of the "Battle of the Boots" competition will be announced on social media and contacted directly.