Taking a candlelit stroll into the New Year

Taking a stroll to start the new year

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(ABC 6 News) – Today, Minnesota State Parks hosted free candlelight events open to the public.

They’re hoping to encourage more people to come visit state parks in the winter and to give them something to do.

Forestville/Mystery Cave Park was one of many that offered a free one-mile hike with candlelight leading the way.

“Half the park is after dark and so we like to encourage people to come out to the state parks after dark and enjoy hiking the trails,” Mystery Cave manager Dawn Ryan said.

Many people took advantage of the unique candlelit tour, some even visiting from out of state like Iowa and South Dakota.

One family said the walk was time to bond with one another while also getting active for the first day of the new year.

“We thought it would be a good way to start the new year with some exercise some cold air, clear the lungs and have fun with each other,” Sharon Chambers said.

Throughout the hike, activity stations dotted the trail for kids and parents to take breaks as they please.

There was even a bonfire and hot chocolate to keep everyone warm.

Normally, the park would offer snowshoes as part of the tour, but with the lack of snowfall made them unnecessary.

“It’s not stopping anybody from just putting on their boots and coming out and hiking,” Ryan said.

The candlelit trail and winter weather made this event even more relaxing.

“It’s peaceful, and I think just being the comradery of being together as a family starting off 2024, what better way can you enjoy the outdoors in the new year to come,” Eileen Youds.