HARRISBURG — 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 29 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 that our state parks and forests are open for healthy outdoor adventures in all four seasons, including winter,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Dunn said. “They are a great way to make a resolution to enjoy nature and get more exercise, and keep it on the first day of the year.”
The following Pennsylvania state park facilities are participating during daylight hours January 1, 2019: Bald Eagle, Beltzville, Black Moshannon, Caledonia, Canoe Creek, Codorus, Cowans Gap, Delaware Canal, French Creek, Gifford Pinchot, Greenwood Furnace, Hills Creek, Keystone, Kinzua Bridge, Lehigh Gorge, Moraine, Nescopeck, Parker Dam, Pine Grove, Prince Gallitzin, Pymatuning, Racoon Creek, Shawnee, Sinnemahoning state parks, and Jacobsburg, Kings Gap, and Nolde Forest environmental education centers.
Presque Isle State Park and Jennings Environmental Education Center are offering New Year’s Eve or “Last Night” hikes for those who wish to ring in the New Year mid-hike. These easy hikes, spanning one to three miles, begin at 10:30 p.m. on December 31 and conclude around 12:30 a.m. on January 1.
Pennsylvania State Park staff and volunteers lead the hikes, which are usually about one or two miles, but can be longer depending on the park and its terrain.
“Last year, we hosted over 700 participants who hiked more than 1,793 miles in our state parks across the Pennsylvania,” Dunn said. “Whether you’re staying close to home or traveling, join us at one of Pennsylvania’s state parks on New Year’s Day!”
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,” National Association of State Park Directors Executive Director, Lewis Ledford said. “Hiking offers inspiring ways to improve your physical and mental health, while exploring beautiful public lands in every state.”
Additional details can be found at www.dcnr.state.pa.us; click on Events,” then select the “First Day Hikes” tab.
Hikers are invited to share their experience on social media using #FirstDayHikes.