Laura Harman and her boyfriend Nathan Haffner, both originally from Fort Wayne, resolved this time last year to visit all 24 state parks in Indiana in 2012. They completed their resolution in late December when they visited Brown County State Park, the last on their list.
Jesse and Abby Linville, the teachers, visited every state park in 2011 and plan to hit every state forest in 2013.
Coincidentally, both couples accomplished many of the most common resolutions that Americans set for themselves. They exercised, spent more time with each other, traveled to new places, learned new things and de-stressed.
Harman and Haffner spent at least a day at each park, hiked and bird-watched, visited nature centers, read interpretive markers, took hundreds of photographs, played basketball and tennis, and camped.
“I always tell people how much fun it is to get out and camp and also how inexpensive it can be,” Harman said. “Camping brings friends and family together. But it doesn’t cost that much.”
Haffner said he appreciated the history lessons that state parks offer. At Turkey Run and elsewhere, he learned about the conservation movement. At Mounds, Haffner learned about pre-historic Native Americans. And at the Gus Grissom Memorial at Spring Mill State Park, he learned about space exploration.
“There’s so much more in Indiana than people realize,” Haffner said. “I feel like I know a lot more about my state and take more pride in my state.”
The IU couple said they will return to several of the parks in 2013, to discover attractions they missed the first time and rediscover the things they loved.
Harman and Haffner already know what their 2013 resolution will be—to organize the hundreds of photographs they took in 2012.
And the Linvilles will be on the trail again, visiting Indiana’s 13 state forests.
While you don’t have to visit all the state parks and state forests in one year, resolving to make Indiana’s state parks and state forests a part of your life in 2013 is a surefire way to start the year right.