Dublin residents with a case of cabin fever could find an antidote in the city's Polar Hikes series that kicks off this month.
The three hikes, typically 2 to 3 miles, begin Jan. 19 in Kiwanis Riverway Park, 6245 Riverside Drive. Subsequent dates include Feb. 9 in Thaddeus Kosciuszko Park, 4444 Hard Road, and Feb. 23 in Avery Park, 7401 Avery Road.
The goal of the hikes, said Barbara Ray, Dublin's nature-education coordinator, is for people to get outside, enjoy nature and have some fun. Being outside can lower blood pressure and reduce stress.
"It's really just a nice break from whatever else is going on in our lives," she said.
Ray will lead each of the three hikes, pointing out interesting plants and animals along the way.
At Kiwanis, the river bed could give hikers a chance to see herons, different species of ducks and bald eagles, Ray said.
Birds such as nuthatches, chickadees, cardinals and blue jays as well as squirrels can be found at all three hike locations, Ray said.
And, while deer, coyote and foxes are active during the winter, hikers probably will just be able to spot their tracks.
"Most of the time we are observing whatever nature presents that day," she said.
This is the second year the hikes have been offered.
One of the goals of the city's Recreation Services department is to get the community into the city's parks, said Dublin Recreation Services program supervisor Carla Doty.
"Winter is such a tranquil and beautiful time in Dublin, especially in our parks," Doty said.
"We wanted to give people the opportunity to explore nature, exercise and have a fun learning experience."
Last year, about 40 people participated in the series, Doty said. This year, Kiwanis and Avery parks again will be featured, along with the addition of Kosciuszko.
Although the hikes aren't dog-friendly, they are open to kids and families, Doty said.
Hikes are canceled if there is heavy rain, extreme cold or bitter wind chills, ice or weather advisories such as hazardous driving conditions, Doty said.
The city will notify participants of cancellation using contact information provided at the time of registration.
Registration for each hike costs $9. Registration can be performed online at dublinohiousa.gov/findme.