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America's State Parks Celebrate the Start of a New Year With First Day Hikes on January 1, 2013

Article follows the photos:
  • Start off 2013 on the right foot enjoying one of the First Day Hikes in Arkansas's state parks.

  • Moro Bay State Park is one of 33 Arkansas state parks offering free, guided hikes on New Year's Day.


Contact: Greg Butts
December 20, 2012 501-682-7743


Arkansas State Parks Joins This Nationwide Invitation to Begin the New Year by Joining Family or Friends on a Trek along a State Park Trail
(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) First Day Hikes originated over 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. The initiative targeted the first of January—the start of a new year—to promote both healthy lifestyles throughout the year and the year-round recreation that can be experienced locally in state parks. Through the years, other states have joined this health initiative by also offering First Day Hikes and other outdoor recreation programs on New Year’s Day. January 1, 2012, will mark the second time all 50 state park systems will join together to sponsor First Day Hikes, according to the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD) and America’s State Parks, an alliance launched by the NASPD to advocate for the healthful and economic benefits provided by the 50 state park systems across the nation. America’s State Parks invites the public to enjoy free, guided First Day Hikes on New Year’s Day 2013 at local state parks.
According to Arkansas State Parks Director Butts, “State parks around Arkansas will join America’s State Parks’ nationwide invitation to the public to enjoy First Day Hikes by offering individuals and families the opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on January 1.” He emphasized, “Enjoying a state park trail is a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature, and welcome the New Year with family or friends.” He noted that Arkansas’s state park system includes 140 trails totaling 388 miles. “Explore a trail on your own, or join a state park interpreter on a guided hike. Our interpreters will connect you to the beauty and history of the parks, and you’ll enjoy shared experiences creating memories to last a lifetime.”

He continued, “Diversity is the hallmark of Arkansas’s state park system, and that is certainly represented in the variety of trail experiences to be enjoyed in our parks.” Arkansas State Parks trails range in length from short nature walks to overnight backpacking adventures. Trails lead hikers through rugged, scenic terrain in Arkansas’s two mountain ranges, the Ozarks and the Ouachitas. Trails stretch along the shores of Arkansas’s great lakes and into bottomlands teeming with wildlife. Hikers can follow the banks of renowned rivers, including wild and scenic streams. Trail enthusiasts can explore state historic sites and Arkansas’s diamond site. Barrier-free trails accommodate the needs of visitors with disabilities. Among this wide variety of trails are nationally-designated trails. And, in addition to walking and hiking trails, the state park system includes biking, equestrian, river, and off highway vehicle trails. There are even trails to experience and enjoy on the water.

Arkansas State Parks First Day Hikes will be held at the following state parks:
• Bull Shoals-White River State Park (Bull Shoals)—Big Bluff Trail from 10 a.m. to noon

• Cane Creek State Park (Star City)—Delta View Trail from 2-4 p.m.

• Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area (Wickes)—Harris Creek Trail from 1-4 p.m.

• Crater of Diamonds State Park (Murfreesboro)—Little Missouri River Trail from 2-3 p.m.

• Crowley’s Ridge State Park (Paragould)—Dancing Rabbit Trail from 10-11 a.m.

• Daisy State Park (Kirby)—Daisy Creek Nature Trail from 1-2 p.m. (meet at the pavilion parking lot)

• Davidsonville Historic State Park (Pocahontas)—Trapper Lake Trail from 2-3 p.m.

• DeGray Lake Resort State Park (Bismarck)—Island Trail from 9-10 a.m. (meet in the lobby of DeGray Lodge); Green Heron Trail from 2-3 p.m. (meet in the park visitor center parking lot)

• Devil’s Den State Park (West Fork)—View Sunrise from Yellow Rock on the Yellow Rock Trail (meet at the Lower Yellow Rock Trailhead near Area A) from 6:30-8:30 a.m.; Devil’s Den Trail from 1-3 p.m. (meet at the park visitor center)

• Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area (Rogers)—Shaddox Hollow Trail from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Ozark Plateau Trail from 1-1:30 p.m. (meet at the park visitor center); Eagle Cruises from 3-4:30 p.m. (meet at the Rocky Branch Marina): Cost: Adult—$10, Child (6-12)—$5; under age 6—free

• Jacksonport State Park (Jacksonport)—Bring a Tyke and Take a Hike on the Tunstall River Walk Trail from 10-11 a.m.; Jacksonport State Park Mighty Hike from 2-4:30 p.m. (meet at the park’s boat launch parking lot)

• Lake Catherine State Park (Hot Springs)—A Hike Through the Woods and Along the Lakeshore from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (meet at the park’s trailhead)
• Lake Charles State Park (Powhatan)—New Year’s Resolution Hike on White Oak Trail from 1:30-2:30 p.m.

• Lake Chicot State Park (Lake Village)—A Hike to Start off the Year along the Delta Woodlands Nature Trail from 3-3:45 p.m.

• Lake Dardanelle State Park (Russellville)—Meadowbrook Trail from 10-11 a.m.

• Lake Fort Smith State Park (Mountainburg)—Ozark Highlands Trail from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (meet at the park visitor center)

• Lake Frierson State Park (Jonesboro)—Dogwood Lane Trail from 1-2 p.m. (meet at the park visitor center)

• Lake Ouachita State Park (Mountain Pine)—Caddo Bend Trail from 9 a.m. to noon

• Lake Poinsett State Park (Harrisburg)—Great Blue Heron Trail from 2-3:30 p.m. and enjoy a warm, Dutch oven treat with park staff at the finish of the hike

• Logoly State Park (McNeil)—Hike Logoly on the First Along Crane’s Fly Trail from 10-11 a.m. (meet in the park visitor center)

• Millwood State Park (Ashdown)—Waterfowl Way Trail from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

• Mississippi River State Park (Marianna)—Bear Creek Lake Nature Trail from 2-3 p.m.

• Moro Bay State Park (Jersey)—Low-Water Trail from 2-3:30 p.m.

• Mount Magazine State Park (Paris)—Hike to the High Point on Signal Hill Trail from 9-10 a.m. (meet at the entrance to The Lodge at Mount Magazine)

• Mount Nebo State Park (Dardanelle)—Summit Park Trail from 2-4 p.m.

• Petit Jean State Park (Morrilton)—View the Birds on Seven Hollows Trail from 8:30-9:15 a.m. (meet at the Seven Hollows parking area); A Hike Through the Ages on a trek to the Cedar Falls Overlook from 10:30-11:30 a.m. (meet in the Mather Lodge breezeway), Taking Care of the Trail to Bear Cave from 1-2:30 p.m. (meet at the Mather Lodge breezeway); Rim Trail Hike along the rim of Cedar Creek Canyon on one the most scenic sections of the Boy Scout Trail from 3:30-5 p.m. (meet at the Rock House Cave parking area)

• Pinnacle Mountain State Park (Roland)—Early Morning Base Trail Hike from 9-11 a.m. (meet at the West Summit Trailhead); Kingfisher Wetland Wonders Hike on the Kingfisher Trail from 2-3 p.m.

• Powhatan Historic State Park (Powhatan)—Historic Town Tour from 1-3 p.m. (meet at the Powhatan Courthouse)

• Queen Wilhelmina State Park (Mena)—Lover’s Leap Trail Hike from 9-11 a.m. (meet at the Day-use Area parking lot); Step Back in Time walk from 1:30-3 p.m. (meet at the Ouachita Trail trailhead just west of the park’s Tent Camping Area)

• Village Creek State Park (Wynne)—Military Road Trail from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (meet at the Lake Austell boat ramp)

• White Oak Lake State Park (Bluff City)—Hike in the Sand Hills from 9-10 a.m. (meet at the park visitor center)

• Withrow Springs State Park (Huntsville)—War Eagle Trail Hike from 10-10:30 a.m. (meet at the Keith Ham Pavilion)

• Woolly Hollow State Park (Greenbrier)—Huckleberry Trail from 1-3 p.m.

Details about these hikes in Arkansas’s state parks on January 1 can be found online here.

“We hosted over 14,000 people who hiked over 30,000 miles in our state parks across the country when we launched America’s State Parks First Day Hike on New Year’s Day 2012 in all 50 states,” said Priscilla Geigis, president of the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD). “To start 2013, we’re inviting kids and adults to get their hearts pumping and experience the beauty of our state parks at one of over 400 hikes nationwide. Whether you’re staying close to home or traveling, join us at one of America’s State Parks on New Year’s Day!”
“Getting outdoors and connecting to the natural world is one good way to relax and recharge the body, mind and spirit,” said Phil McKnelly, NASPD’s executive director. “We hope that hiking along a trail in a state park will become part of an individual’s or family’s regular exercise routine.”

America’s State Parks boast a variety of beautiful settings for year-round outdoor recreation, and each First Day Hike will offer an opportunity to explore the unique natural and cultural treasures close to home. From California to Maine, hikers can climb hills and mountaintops, walk along ponds and beaches, and traverse trails through forests, fields and prairies. Park visitors can listen to birds, breathe in the fresh air, discover wildlife tracks, feel the wind and the warmth of the sun or the coldness of the snow. Outdoor enthusiasts can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of nature in winter, experience spectacular views and vistas, and benefit from the company of a knowledgeable state park guide.

State park staff and volunteers will lead the hikes, which average one to two miles or longer depending on the state park. Details about hike locations across the country, difficulty and length, terrain, and tips regarding proper clothing are listed on the America’s State Parks website. Visit and click on your state of interest to find a First Day Hike nearest you.

America's State Parks is committed to promoting outdoor recreation in state parks as a way to address obesity, especially among children. Getting kids outside and unplugged from video games and other electronic media creates a unique connection with nature that promotes physical and mental well-being and encourages creativity and stewardship of our shared resources.

The mission of the NASPD and America’s State Parks is to promote and advance the state park systems of America for their own significance, as well as for their important contributions to the nation’s environment, heritage, health, and economy.

For additional information about First Day Hikes in Arkansas’s state parks, contact: Greg Butts, director, Arkansas State Parks, 1 Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201; phone: 501-682-7743;