KALISPELL, Mont.-  Hikers in the Flathead Valley are encouraged to get outside and participate in this year's "Battle of the Boots" competition to decide which state park in the valley is the best. 

The competition is in lieu of First Day hikes that typically occur on Jan. 1 of each year, but were canceled this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

The battle is between Lone Pine State Park in Kalispell and all the units of Flathead Lake State Park, including Wayfarers, Yellow Bay, Finley Point, West Shore, Big Arm and Wild Horse Island.  

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is hosting the event and has put clipboards at all the different trailheads for hikers to record their miles throughout the entire month of January. Hikers are encouraged to track miles using a smartphone application or referencing the signage at each park's trailhead. Dillon Tabish, MFWP Education Program Manager, said hitting the trails is a Montana staple.  

"It's just a really neat quality of life in Montana and part of our character as Montanans is to get outside and enjoy what we have here in this beautiful state," Tabish said. "These parks really reflect that."

The individual hikers who hike the most miles at each park will also win a special prize. The trails are family friendly and hikers are encouraged to maintain social distancing. 

For more information, call the Lone Pine State Park Visitor Center at 406-755-2706. 

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