Colorado Parks and Wildlife will sponsor guided hikes in 15 state parks on New Year’s Day as part of an America’s State Parks’ initiative in all 50 states. The First Day Hikes initiative offers individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year by rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors with a healthy hike on Jan. 1, 2013 at a state park close to home. First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family. The hikes themselves are free, but park visitors must have either a daily parks pass or a valid annual pass.
“We are excited to host First Day Hikes as part of this national effort to get people outdoors and into our parks,” said Rick Cables, Director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “First Day Hikes are a great way to cure cabin fever and burn off those extra holiday calories by starting off the New Year with an invigorating walk or hike in one of our beautiful state parks.”
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.
“Last year, we hosted over 14,000 people who hiked over 30,000 miles in state parks across the country when we launched America’s State Parks First Day Hikes 2012,” said Priscilla Geigis, President of the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD). “To start 2013, we’re inviting kids and adults to get their hearts pumping and experience the beauty of state parks at one of over 400 hikes nationwide. 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.”
First Day Hikes originated over 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Mass. 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 joined together to sponsor First Day Hikes.
Park staff and volunteers will lead the hikes. Details about hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain and tips regarding proper clothing are listed on the America’s State Parks website and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website. Visit http://cpw.state.co.us to find a First Day Hike near you.
Logo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife