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North Dakota state parks' hiking challenge expands for 2022

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Mandan-Hike-02

Hikers walk along a trail at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park in 2018 for the annual lighting of the blockhouse.

North Dakota's Parks and Recreation Department has expanded its "12 Months-12 Hikes Challenge" for this year.

Of the 1,742 registrants last year, 1,256 people logged at least one hike, and 406 participants completed 12 or more hikes, thus meeting the challenge.

The hiking challenge expanded statewide last year after originating as a monthly group hike in 2016 at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park south of Mandan. The challenge encourages people to recreate year-round in North Dakota's state parks.

The new year brings several changes to the hiking challenge. 

The hiking period will be open the entirety of every month rather than for two weeks of every month. All 13 state parks will be participating, with 21 qualifying trails. Last year 12 parks had 20 qualifying trails.

The hiking challenge won't have any more code words for check-ins, easing the process for logging hikes.

Hikers may take advantage of three "bonus" hiking trails throughout the year to make up for months missed.

People of all ages may participate. Registration is at parkrec.nd.gov/challenges.

Prizes for the challenge include medals and entries into random drawings for a 2023 state parks permit.

Visitation has boomed at North Dakota's state parks amid the coronavirus pandemic, setting consecutive record years for camping in 2020 and 2021.

The Legislature last year approved nearly $18 million in federal coronavirus aid to fund deferred maintenance projects at state parks.

Reach Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or jack.dura@bismarcktribune.com.

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