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Frank Lloyd Wright

QUASQUETON – Free, guided hikes will take place in 25 Iowa state parks on New Year’s Day as part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative.

This year Cedar Rock State Park will be open for a guided hike around the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Walter Estate grounds.

“The First Day Hike initiative is a perfect opportunity to begin the new year in Frank Lloyd Wright style taking a moment to experience the beauty of nature and what better site than on the grounds of one of Wright’s masterpieces,” said Katie Hund, Manager of Cedar Rock State Park. “Even though the home at the park is not open to the public this time of year, the park itself is still a place where people can come to connect with nature and foster their physical and mental well-being while enjoying Cedar Rock’s natural and cultural resources.”

Last year, more than 600 people began the year in an Iowa state park, hiking more than 1,100 total miles.

“This is the 6th annual First Day Hike for the Iowa DNR and 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s birth,” said Hund. “We look forward to celebrating this milestone year for Wright during our 2017 park events; First Day Hike, River Pavilion Restoration Project Celebration, Strawberry Moon and the Afternoon with Frank Lloyd Wright.”

Participants of the Cedar Rock Hike are asked to meet at the Park Visitor Center, 2611 Quasqueton Diagonal Blvd., by 1 p.m. for a little orientation and preparation. Staff and volunteers will lead people along Toad’s Trail. The 1.5 mile hike will be on moderately hilly terrain winding away from the park visitor center to Cedar Rock and the Wapsipinicon River. Enjoy nature as you hike near a prairie and riparian forest on the way to the 11-acre site. The Walter house is masterfully placed to take advantage of the stunning views of the Wapsipinicon River.

Due to winter maintenance and to conserve heat, the house will not be open, but hikers may peek in the uncovered window if they wish.

Cocoa, cider and cookies will be offered indoors at the visitor center following the hike. Depending on weather conditions snowshoes will be available for participants, or bring your own.

“I expect the guided hike to take around 45 minutes round trip,” said Hund. “I envision participants taking their time and catching a few photos at the house grounds and on the trail.

“Most importantly those planning on joining us for the First Day Hike should be sure to dress for that day’s weather conditions. We encourage you to bring along your walking stick, camera, selfie stick, binoculars or any other equipment you feel you may need. We will have a fun photo frame on hand to capture fun candid photos to ring in 2017.”

If participants would like to pre-register for the event or for snowshoes they may do so by calling the park at 319-934-3572 or emailing cedar_rock@dnr.iowa.gov. Pre-registration is not mandatory.

Cancellation information will be available online at www.iowadnr.gov/parks and click on “closure information”, or Friends of Cedar Rock Facebook page.

Details about the other Hikes can be found at www.iowadnr.gov/firstdayhikes and to see a comprehensive map of First Day Hikes across the country, visit www.stateparks.org. Participants are encouraged to share their adventures on social media with #FirstDayHikes.

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