America’s State Parks announced that all 50 state park systems will sponsor free, guided First Day Hike Programs on New Year’s Day 2015. America’s State Parks First Day Hikes offer individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on January 1, 2015 at a state park. First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family.
“Last year, we hosted 28,000 people who hiked 66,811 miles in our state parks across the country when we launched America’s State Parks First Day Hikes,” said Priscilla Geigis, President of the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD). “Think of it as the start of a new and healthy lifestyle, for the whole family. Whether you’re staying close to home or traveling, join us at one of America’s State Parks on New Year’s Day.”
“Studies have proven that getting outdoors is one good way to relax and recharge the body, mind and spirit.” stated Lewis Ledford, NASPD’s Executive Director. “We hope that hiking along a trail in a state park will become part of an individual’s or family’s regular exercise routine.”
State park staff and volunteers will lead the hikes, which average one to two miles or longer depending on the state park. Details about hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain and tips regarding proper clothing are listed on the America’s State Parks website. Visit www.naspd.org and click on your state of interest to find a First Day Hike nearest you.
America’s State Parks boast a variety of beautiful settings for year-round outdoor recreation, and each First Day Hike will offer an opportunity to explore the unique natural and cultural treasures close to home. From California to Maine, hikers can climb hills and mountain tops, walk along ponds and beaches, and traverse trails through forests, fields and prairies. Visitors can listen to birds, breathe in the fresh air, discover wildlife tracks, feel the wind and the warmth of the sun or the coldness of the snow. Visitors can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of nature in winter, experience spectacular views and vistas and benefit from the company of a knowledgeable state park guide.
First Day Hikes originated over 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. The program was launched to promote both healthy lifestyles throughout the year and year round recreation at state parks. Last year marked the first time all 50 state park systems have joined together to sponsor First Day Hikes.
America’s State Parks is committed to promoting outdoor recreation in state parks as a way to address obesity, especially among children. Getting kids outside and unplugged from video games and other electronic media creates a unique connection with nature that promotes physical and mental well-being and encourages creativity and stewardship of our shared resources.Find a First Day Hike near you
The mission of the NASPD and America’s State Parks is to promote and advance the state park systems of America for their own significance, as well as for their important contributions to the nation’s environment, heritage, health and economy.