North Dakota State Parks Hiking Challenge Expands for 2022 | News

The North Dakota Department of Parks and Recreation 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, completing the challenge.

The hike challenge expanded statewide last year after taking the form of a monthly group hike in 2016 at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, south of Mandan. The challenge encourages people to recreate year-round at North Dakota state parks.

The new year brings several changes to the hiking challenge.

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

The Hike Challenge will no longer have codewords for logs, making the process of logging hikes easier.

Hikers can take advantage of three “bonus” hiking trails throughout the year to make up for missed months.

Challenge prizes include medals and sweepstakes entries for a 2023 State Parks Permit.

Visitation has exploded at North Dakota state parks amid the coronavirus pandemic, setting back-to-back record years for camping in 2020 and 2021.

Last year, the Legislature approved nearly $18 million in federal coronavirus assistance to fund deferred maintenance projects at state parks.