The Utah Department of Health, Utah State Parks and the Utah State Office of Tourism are sponsoring a "Walk in the Park" competition to encourage Utahns to get outside. Research shows exercising in nature provides positive health effects such as lowering blood pressure and improving moods.

Starting Saturday, residents can register for the contest at www.utahwalks

.org. Participants are asked to log all the miles they walk, hike, bike or other exercise done in any Utah state park from June 7 through Sept. 30.

A new Gold Medal Mile was just created at Wasatch Mountain State Park, beginning at the visitors center and ending at Huber Grove, where visitors can learn about the family's historic farmhouse and creamery, established in the late 1800s. The path will kick off the competition Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Wasatch Mountain State Park in Midway. Walkers are allowed to bring dogs on the trail, as long as they are on a leash. Healthy snacks, T-shirts and other giveaways will be provided.

More information on activities that county toward the competition can be found at or

The top three competitors each month will be given prizes.