Our Opinion: Outdoors offers remedy for ‘cabin fever’

Here’s an idea for a New Year’s resolution: Get out more.

Three unrelated local stories have sounded a common theme. Despite winter weather, visiting parks, hiking trails and observing nature offer opportunities to remain active and to appreciate the beauty of our natural surroundings.

Two of the stories focused on specific events that have occurred, but those activities can be repeated individually.

• First Day Hikes were hosted on New Year’s Day by personnel from the State Parks Division within the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Park administrators, employees and volunteers were scheduled to lead an estimated 40 hikes in parks throughout the state.

“It’s an opportunity to come to the park and hike a beautiful trail at a time of the year when they normally wouldn’t,” said Kenny Neal, a naturalist who planned to lead a hike at Lake of the Ozarks State Park. “It’s something different, getting away from the city or from the everyday life. It’s great to experience nature.”

• Closer to home, a “Nature by Design” event was held during the weekend at the Runge Nature Center, operated by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Warmer temperatures welcomed Saturday visitors who took part in a Camo Trail Walk, where walkers were challenged to spot naturally camouflaged flora and fauna.

The Runge Center offers both indoor and outdoor activities, including exhibits and informational programs.

• Still upcoming is the ever-popular Eagle Days program at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Eagle Days events will take place Saturday and Sunday at a variety of Lake-area venues. The partnership this year includes Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitors Bureau, Missouri Master Naturalist Ozarks Chapter, Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, lakeoftheozarksradio.com, Country Club Hotel and Spa and Osage National Golf Resorts.

In addition to outdoor eagle watching, programs will feature naturalists, and live eagles, from the World Bird Sanctuary.

These and other events remind us that “cabin fever” is an avoidable malady.

Natural vistas and scenic sights await. All that is required is to get up and get out.

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