America’s State Parks Promote First Day Hikes

America’s State Parks announced that all 50 state park systems will sponsor free, guided First Day Hike Programs on New Year’s Day 2012.

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, 2012 at a state park, according to a recent news release.

“What better way to kick off the New Year than with a hike at a state park?” said Ruth Coleman, 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 Phil McNelly, 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.”

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.

Many other states have offered outdoor recreation programs on New Year’s Day, however, this is the first time all 50 state park systems have joined together to sponsor First Day Hikes.

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.

First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature, and welcome the New Year with friends and family.

Facts about America’s State Parks

Total Park Visits                                           More than 740 million per year

Number of state park units                             7,810

Total economic impact on communities          More than $20 billion

Percent of visitors with children                     64%

Miles of trails                                                  44,219

Number of campsites                                      220,329

Number of cabins and lodges                         7,954


National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD)

Catalina State Park near Tucson, Arizona, is a favorite with hikers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD) is devoted to helping state park systems effectively manage and administer their state park system. The mission of the Association 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.


America’s State Parks


America’s State Parks First Day Hikes

First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature, and welcome the New Year with friends and family.

Select a State on the website below to find a First Day Hike near you.


America’s State Parks + America’s National Parks = Great National System of Parks

Worth Pondering…

Start the year off on the right foot, the left foot, any foot—take a First Day Hike in a state park near you.

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