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DCNR to Celebrate “Connecting More in 2024” During First Day Hikes Across Pennsylvania Public Lands


​Harrisburg, PA -- The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) today announced it will host nearly 60 guided hikes in 45 state parks and five forest districts on New Year’s Day, as part of the nationwide “First Day Hike” efforts.

These guided hikes, all taking place on Monday, January 1, are designed to promote a healthy start in the new year while offering families an opportunity to forge new and stronger connections with the outdoors.

“First Day Hikes are always a great way to start the new year in natural spaces, and this year we are focusing on building connections to public lands,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “Whether it is learning about the wonderful programs we offer at our parks, finding a new recreational hobby, or learning about the history of Pennsylvania through public lands, we encourage Pennsylvanians and visitors to connect more in 2024.”

State park and forest staff, as well as volunteers lead the hikes, which are usually about one or two miles.

Some hikes can be longer depending on the park and its terrain.

The following Pennsylvania state park and forest facilities are participating during daylight hours January 1, 2024:

  • Bald Eagle State Park 
  • Beltzville State Park
  • Big Elk Creek State Park
  • Black Moshannon State Park
  • Buchanan State Forest
  • Caledonia State Park
  • Canoe Creek State Park
  • Chapman State Park
  • Codorus State Park
  • Cook Forest State Park
  • Cowans Gap State Park
  • French Creek State Park
  • Gifford Pinchot State Park
  • Greenwood Furnace State Park
  • Hills Creek State Park
  • Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center
  • Kings Gap Environmental Education Center
  • Kinzua Bridge State Park
  • Lackawanna State Park
  • Laurel Ridge State Park
  • Lehigh Gorge State Park
  • Lyman Run State Park
  • M. K. Goddard State Park
  • Marsh Creek State Park
  • Michaux State Forest
  • Moraine State Park
  • Nescopeck State Park
  • Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center
  • Ohiopyle State Park
  • Parker Dam State Park
  • Pine Grove Furnace State Park
  • Point State Park
  • Prince Gallitzin State Park
  • Pymatuning State Park 
  • Raccoon Creek State Park
  • Ralph Stover State Park
  • Raymond B. Winter State Park
  • Ridley Creek State Park
  • Shawnee State Park
  • Sinnemahoning State Park
  • Susquehanna Riverlands State Park
  • Trough Creek State Park
  • Vosburg Neck State Park
  • Washington Crossing Historic Park
  • White Clay Creek Preserve

Learn more about individual First Day Hike events on DCNR’s website.

First Day Hikes are organized by the National Association of State Park Directors to promote healthy lifestyles throughout the year and year-round recreation at state parks.

All 50 states have cooperatively sponsored First Day Hikes since 2012.

Each year more than 730 million people visit America’s State Parks and contribute billions of dollars to the U.S economy.

State parks are a “close to home” resource and an important part of our country’s fabric, enhancing our quality of life.

Visit America’s State Parks website for more information on First Day Hikes nationally.

In addition to the guided hikes offered as a part of the national First Day Hikes, many Pennsylvania state parks also have self-guided hikes, story walks and adventure labs available year-round.

“Our state parks and forests are open for healthy outdoor adventures in all four seasons, and we are hopeful that people use First Day Hikes to explore what our public lands have to offer,” Dunn said. “Thank you to the DCNR staff and volunteers who make these hikes interactive and enjoyable for visitors, new and old alike.”

Hikers are invited to share their experience on social media using #FirstDayHikes.

Additional details can be found on the DCNR Calendar of Events website; click on Events, then select the “First Day Hikes” tab on the right.

MEDIA CONTACT: Wesley Robinson, 717-877-6315

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