For those who think state parks are just places to camp and picnic, think again. In Michigan, they are turning into health and recreation centers, the Great Lakes Echo reported.

From hosting triathlons and ultra marathons, to teaching people how to get an extra thirty to forty yards in their disc golf throw, state officials have spent years evolving ways state parks get used.

“Ninety percent of people use 10 percent of the park they are in,” said Tim Machowicz, the park director for Sleepy Hollow State Park in Laingsburg, north of Lansing.

This year the park is hosting more than 300 events to open people’s eyes to what they can do at their state parks.

“We focus on those activities that introduce people to a natural resource,” Machowicz said. “That’s different from people just coming in to use the picnic area; they’re coming in but not learning about resources.”

Sleepy Hollow programs teach people to use the woods and water: kayaking, paddle boarding, snowshoe-making. Outreach programs teach inner city kids to fish and swim.

“We have kids who never swam in a lake in the past,” Machowicz said. “It’s a good experience for them – an introduction at an early age of what state parks have to offer.”

But perhaps the hottest trend in state park recreation is trail running.

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