January 1, 2020 will mark the 28th anniversary of First Day Hikes. This initiative started in Massachusetts to get more people out in parks and enjoying nature at a time of the year not typically associated with outdoor recreation.
Each year, First Day Hikes programs across the United States get hikers and outdoor enthusiasts to ring in the New Year by taking part in guided hikes led by knowledgeable state park staff and volunteers.
According to the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD), which began administering the program in 2012, “the distance and rigor vary from park to park, but all hikes aim to create a fun experience for the whole family. People are invited to savor the beauty of the state park’s natural resources with the comfort of an experienced guide, so they may be inspired to take advantage of these local treasures throughout the year.”
From California to Maine, hikers can experience a variety of outdoor recreation activities, including mountain and hill climbing, kayaking, walks along lakes and beaches, exploration of trails through great forests, wildlife expeditions, bird-watching and much more, while improving their overall mental and physical health and wellness.
Visit the First Day Hikes web page, and check out the map to see where a hike may be scheduled near you or contact America's State Parks to find out about organizing/promoting your own First Day Hike to celebrate the new year!