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Take a hike: Free admission Friday to all Minnesota State Parks

As part of "Free Park Friday" Sibley State Park near New London will offer a free guided hike -- or snowshoe walk depending on trail conditions -- from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. the day after Thanksgiving. (Forum News Service photo)

NEW LONDON, Minn. — Need to burn those extra Thanksgiving dinner calories or take a break from Black Friday shopping?

Well, take a hike.

It's "Free Park Friday" when entrance fees to all Minnesota State Parks are waived for the day to encourage people to take advantage of the outdoors.

"Fresh air, great scenery, the company of family and friends and all at no cost. We hope thousands of Minnesota families take advantage of this offer," said Erika Rivers, director of Minnesota State Parks and Trails.

On Thanksgiving Day, the average American consumes around 4,500 calories. A brisk walk can burn about 300 calories in one hour.

Instead of a hike it may be snowshoeing.

For example, Sibley State Park near New London in central Minnesota has snowshoes available for use on a first-come,-first-served basis.

In her announcement about the free park admission, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith said she will be visiting Temperance River State Park on the North Shore.

But she said no matter where you spend Thanksgiving, "if you are in Minnesota, there is probably a state park within 30 miles."

Although there has been snow at Sibley State Park, trails have not been groomed yet for cross-country skiing. Trail conditions will be posted on the park's website as the season progresses.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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