By angelamontana

Posted: December 28, 2022

KALISPELL — Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is organizing a friendly competition in the Flathead Valley to encourage a healthy start to the new year.

Recreationists are invited to participate in the third annual “Battle of the Boots” and tally miles at either Lone Pine State Park in Kalispell or Flathead Lake State Park, which includes Wayfarers, West Shore and Big Arm units, in the month of January.

Participants can hike, snowshoe, fat-tire bike, sled, or cross-country ski a trail at one of these parks in the month of January and log their miles on the sheets at trailhead kiosks to help lead that park to victory. The competition will kick off Jan. 1, 2023, and conclude on Jan. 31, 2023. The park with the most overall miles will be crowned champion.

The stellar showing from hikers at Flathead Lake State Park in 2021 and 2022 crowned the two-time champion on the lake. With its own success to live up to, Flathead Lake State Park will not take its status as reigning champ lightly. But who doesn’t like an underdog story? Lone Pine has shown grit and will not back down from its rival.

Prizes will be awarded to individuals in a variety of categories:

  • Weekly: For just hiking, your name will be entered into a raffle; for every mile you hike, you will receive one raffle entry (i.e. 11 miles, 11 raffle tickets).
  • 1st overall miles for the month: FREE weekend of camping this summer at Lake Mary Ronan State Park or the West Shore Unit of Flathead Lake State Park.
  • 2nd overall miles for the month: FREE day of SUP/Kayak rental at Finley Point Unit of Flathead Lake State Park
  • 3rd overall miles for the month: 25L OSPREY day pack
  • There will also be smaller prizes for top hikers at Lone Pine and Flathead Lake (units combined). The winner of a tie will be determined by a random drawing.

First Day Hikes celebrate the new year with a way for individuals and families to get outside, exercise, and connect with nature. In honor of this 30-year national tradition in U.S. parks, the Battle of the Boots participants with the most miles logged on Jan. 1 will receive prizes as well.

Share photos from hikes and tag the park for a feature on the two parks’ Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Lone Pine State Park is located 5 miles southwest of Kalispell and offers vivid views of the valley, 7.5 miles of trails, and a beautiful interpretive center that provides information on living in a wildlife urban interface. Additional amenities include a picnic shelter and a community room, which are both available to rent, as well as a volleyball court, horseshoe pit, and an archery range. Furthermore, Lone Pine offers a fantastic variety of educational and interpretive programs.

Flathead Lake State Park consists of six unique park units located around Flathead Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. The park units on the east side are Wayfarers, Yellow Bay and Finley Point and the west side units are West Shore, Big Arm and Wild Horse Island. In addition to boating, swimming and fishing, each park unit offers unique experiences including camping, rental picnic shelters, group camping, hiking, sightseeing, picnicking, and wildlife viewing opportunities.

For more information, call the Lone Pine State Park visitor center at (406) 755-2706, ext. 0, or Flathead Lake State Parks Ranger Station at (406) 837-3041, ext. 0.

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