HARRISBURG, PA – To promote a healthy start to the new year, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) officials will be joining hikers at several parks across the state as DCNR again sponsors free, guided hikes in 30 state parks on New Year’s Day as part of America's State Parks First Day Hikes initiative in all 50 states.
“Our First Day Hikes help remind people our state parks and forests are open for healthy outdoor adventures in all four seasons, including winter,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “They are a terrific way to make a resolution to enjoy nature, get more exercise and encourage keeping that New Year’s resolve through the coming years.”
Dunn noted 2017’s First-Day events drew almost 1,970 visitors who hiked more than 5,180 miles in state parks across Pennsylvania.
“Whether you’re staying close to home or traveling, join us at one of Pennsylvania’s state parks on New Year’s Day!” Dunn said. “For the seventh consecutive year, these hikes offer a great cure for cabin fever and a chance to burn off those extra holiday calories. And what better way to welcome the new year than with an invigorating walk or hike in one of our beautiful state parks where, regardless of the season, we are excited to showcase their beauty?”
Organized by the National Association of State Park Directors to promote both healthy lifestyles throughout the year and year-round recreation at state parks, all 50 states have cooperatively sponsored First Day Hikes since 2012.
"America’s State Parks provide havens for young and old alike to discover the tranquility and beauty of nature through outdoor recreation,” said Lewis Ledford, executive director of the National Association of State Park Directors. “Hiking offers inspiring ways to improve your physical and mental health, while exploring beautiful public lands in every state.”
State parks participating during daylight hours January 1, 2018, include: Black Moshannon, Caledonia, Canoe Creek, Codorus, Colonel Denning, Delaware Canal, French Creek, Gifford Pinchot, Greenwood Furnace, Hills Creek, Keystone, Lackawanna, Lyman Run, Marsh Creek, Moraine, Nescopeck, Ohiopyle, Pine Grove Furnace, Prince Gallitzin, Pymatuning, Raccoon Creek, S.B. Elliott, Shawnee, Sinnemahoning and Susquehannock. Also, Jacobsburg, Nolde Forest and Kings Gap environmental education centers.
Presque Isle State Park and Jennings Environmental Education Center will offer a New Year’s Eve or “Last Night” hike for those who wish to ring in the New Year mid-hike. These 1- 3-mile easy hikes begin at 10:30 PM December 31 and end around 12:30 AM January 1.
Pennsylvania State Park staff and volunteers lead all hikes, which usually are about one or two miles, but can be longer depending on the park and its terrain.
Additional details can be found at www.dcnr.pa.gov
(click on Events then type First Day Hikes in the search bar).
Hikers are invited to share their experience on social media using #FirstDayHikes.
MEDIA CONTACT: Terry Brady, 717-772-9101