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First Day Hikes in America’s State Parks Offer Invigorating Start to the New Year

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National Association of State Park Directors P.O. Box 91567 Raleigh, NC 27675 (919) 218-9222

For Immediate Release December 14, 2015

Contact: Lewis Ledford 919 218-9222,

First Day Hikes in America’s State Parks Offer Invigorating Start to the New Year

Hashtag Your Hike: #FirstDayHikes

Make a New Year’s resolution to your health and happiness by kicking off 2016 with an invigorating First Day Hike at a state park near you. On January 1, all 50 states will be participating in the fifth annual national event that encourages everyone to celebrate the New Year with a guided outdoor exploration. “First Day Hikes offer families the opportunity to rejuvenate and reconnect with nature on guided outdoor adventures,” National Association of State Park Directors President Domenic Bravo said. “There are shorter options for families with young children, to longer treks for adventure seekers. State parks offer stunning views, unique cultural and historical experiences, and wintering wildlife for everyone to enjoy.” Through the event, park rangers, naturalists and volunteers will share their knowledge of each state’s unique natural and cultural features. Adventures include a trek along a rail trail in Arkansas’ Delta Heritage Trail State Park, an expansive mountain view from atop the renovated fire tower in Georgia’s Fort Mountain State Park, and a Missouri hike amongst sinkholes, a geologic fault and serene woodlands in Ha Ha Tonka State Park. This year, many locations are including pet-friendly hikes, such as Greenbrier and Patapsco Valley state parks in Maryland. Details on every state’s hikes are located at Participants are encouraged to log their adventures on social media with #FirstDayHikes. “America’s State Parks provide havens for young and old alike to explore the beauty and serenity 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 discovering beautiful public lands in every state.” First Day Hikes originated more than 25 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation – a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. Last year, more than 41,000 people participated on guided hikes that covered over 79,000 miles on 997 hikes across the country. This year’s event coincides with the celebration of the 100 years of stewardship of natural resources and outdoor recreation by the National Park Service and two state park systems: Indiana and North Carolina. National Park Service’s Centennial, Indiana State Parks Centennial Celebration, North Carolina State Parks - Celebrate Our Centennial.

The National Association of State Park Directors promotes and advocates for the state park systems across America in providing for conservation and management of natural and cultural resources, quality outdoor recreation experiences, connecting children and families to nature and the outdoors, and more. With more than 10,200 park areas and visitation of 740 million annually, the economic impact to local communities is estimated to exceed $20 billion each year. America’s State Parks is an alliance of state park systems in all 50 states. ### Media Contacts: National Association of State Park Directors Lewis Ledford, Executive Director:, 919-218-9222 Domenic Bravo, President & Administrator of Wyoming State Parks:, 307-777-6324

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