Unseasonably warm temperatures are frustrating for many winter outdoors enthusiasts, but they were the catalyst that drew big crowds at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources' First Day Hikes across the state Wednesday. That included the one hosted by Friends of Pine Lake and led by DNR officer Andy Place Wednesday at Pine Lake State Park near Eldora. According to the Friends of Pine Lake, 165 hikers turned out to enjoy a 1.5 mile stroll along the Iowa River and Lower Pine Lake to open the year and the DNR’s 2020 celebration of 100 years of Iowa State Parks. Hikers enjoyed a massive congregation of Canada Geese on the lake, spotted Bald Eagles and a variety of other signs of wildlife in addition to the temperate weather. By comparison, last year’s First Day Hike at Pine Lake drew fewer than 40 hikers. Wednesday’s turnout thrilled organizers that want to see more foot traffic on the park's scenic trail system.

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