Kick-start your New Year’s resolution to keep in shape with an invigorating First Day Hike at a state park near you! All 50 states are participating in the fourth annual national event that invites families to celebrate the New Year with guided outdoor adventures. Last year, more than 27,000 people covered around 66,000 miles on 885 hikes in state parks across the country.
“First Day Hikes offer a healthy way for people of all ages to get outside and take in these beautiful natural areas,” said Priscilla Geigis, president of the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD). “State Parks provide unique opportunities for visitors to experience historical and cultural areas, seasonal flora and wildlife alongside dedicated park staff and volunteers.”
The sponsored hikes range from less than one mile journeys, to longer, more intense workouts, depending on the state and terrain. In addition, some states are also sponsoring trail adventures for cyclists and equestrians, as an added way for guests to appreciate nature.
The American Hiking Society, partnering with America’s State Parks for a second year to promote First Day Hikes, reminds visitors to remember the weather and plan accordingly.
“We encourage families in cold-weather states to be prepared for First Day Hikes by dressing in layers, wearing hats and appropriate footwear. We also recommend all hikers bring along snacks and water for the journey,” said Gregory Miller, president of American Hiking Society. “Many State Parks offer pet-friendly hikes on New Year’s Day and families are reminded to maintain their dogs on a leash and keep their family pets sufficiently hydrated and fed.”
America’s State Parks boast a variety of beautiful settings for year-round outdoor recreation, and each First Day Hike will offer residents an opportunity to explore unique natural and cultural treasures close to home. Featured hikes range from a trek across a natural bridge in Arizona, to a look at the historic mansion of New Hampshire’s first royal governor. Hikers can enjoy breathtaking views from atop the mammoth Table Rock Mountain in South Carolina or a morning run with park rangers in Texas.
“America’s State Parks is dedicated to helping young and old alike explore some of the most breathtaking public lands in their home states,” said Lewis Ledford, executive director of NASPD. “First Day Hikes offer opportunities for children to see firsthand how inspiring nature can be, and how outdoor exercise improves their physical and mental health.”
First Day Hikes originated more than 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation – a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. Details about each state’s hikes, including locations, length and starting times are located at www.naspd.org.
The National Association of State Park Directors promotes and advocates for the state park systems across America in providing for conservation and management of natural and cultural resources, quality outdoor recreation experiences, connecting children and families to nature and the outdoors, and more. With more than 8,200 park areas and visitation that exceeds 720 million annually, the economic impact to local communities is estimated to exceed $20 billion each year. America’s State Parks is an alliance of state park systems in all 50 states.
All participants are encouraged to log their adventures on social media with #FirstDayHike