Take a First Day Hike at a State Park

Published on: December 9, 2014 | Last Updated on December 9, 2014
First Day Hikes
Rockefeller State Park in Pocantico Hills, NY

Rockefeller State Park in Pocantico Hills, NY

On January 1, 2015, get off the couch and take a First Day Hike with family or friends at a state park close to you.

Want to start a new ritual that’s great for your health and your spirit? America’s State Parks are encouraging Americans to take a “First Day Hike” on New Year’s Day, Thursday, January 1, 2015 to familiarize themselves with the year-round outdoor resources close to home.

The first of these hiking days was organized more than 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Massachusetts, as part of an effort to foster healthy lifestyles. Last New Year’s Day (2014), more than 27,000 people took over 800 hikes in all 50 States as part of this national initiative.

“Studies have proven that getting outdoors is one good way to relax and recharge the body, mind and spirit,” stated Lewis Ledford, Executive Director of the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD). “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 guides and volunteers lead the hikes, which average one to two miles or longer depending on the park. Visit the NASPD website and click on the logo to find the “First Day Hike” nearest to you. Details about hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain and tips regarding proper clothing are also listed there.

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If you can’t find a participating state park close by, there are other options for planning outdoor adventures that will allow you to unplug, de-stress, and work off the holiday bloat. In addition to the parks administered under the state park system, the U.S. National Park Service oversees an additional 400 parks, organized by location on their website.

First Day Hikes

First Day Hikes

[A version of this article was published in the Chicago Tribune on December 8, 2014.]

  • Reply
    Marilyn Jones
    December 9, 2014 at 7:40 am

    What a great idea! I enjoyed reading the park stats too. Very enlightening!!

  • Reply
    December 9, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    This make me want to not over do it on NYE, so I can move on the 1st. Great stuff, Irene!

  • Reply
    December 10, 2014 at 1:31 am

    We are so blessed here in Reno with having State Parks all around us and within short drives! Have a great day, Irene 🙂

  • Reply
    Sand In My Suitcase
    December 21, 2014 at 11:30 am

    What a great idea! And these “first day hikes” aren’t very long – a perfect introduction for people not used to hiking…

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      December 21, 2014 at 11:48 am

      Hope the walking trails aren’t covered with snow here in NYS!:-)

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