Arkansas State Parks Celebrate the New Year with First Day Hikes
Make a New Year’s resolution to your health and happiness by kicking off 2018 with an invigorating First Day Hike at an Arkansas state park near you. On January 1, all 50 states will participate in the seventh annual national event that encourages everyone to celebrate the New Year with an outdoor exploration.
“So many people start the year with resolutions about improving health and fitness and seeking more authentic experiences,” said Arkansas State Parks Chief of Interpretation and Program Services Kelly Farrell. “With our First Day Hikes you can put those good intentions right into action and turn goals into accomplishments on day one of 2018. Whether you join one of our scheduled guided hikes, or take your own self-guided trek on our 400+ miles of trails, we hope you enjoy being part of a nationwide celebration and that you’re inspired to make visiting state parks a year-round habit.”
Here’s a link a list of hikes being offered January 1st at Arkansas State Parks.
“I’ve done it with my family for the past two years; I’ve really enjoyed taking my kids out to our parks. We try to hit as many we can on the first of January,” said Arkansas State Parks Director Grady Spann. “We’ll do one with an interpreter who takes us out on a trail, like last year we went to Woolly Hollow, and then after that we went on and hiked up Pinnacle on our own—all on the first of January. To keep that tradition going, we’ll do it again this year and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Last year, 50 hikes were scheduled at 34 parks. Collectively, 702 hikers (and 11 dogs) covered 1146.92 miles.
Join the fun! During the event, park rangers, interpreters and volunteers will share their knowledge of the state’s unique natural and cultural features. You are encouraged to share your adventures on social media with #FirstDayHikes and #ARstateparks.
“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.”
The First, First Day Hike
First Day Hikes originated more than 25 years ago. Last year, more than 62,000 people took part in guided hikes that covered over 114,165 miles (183,730 km) on 1,300 different hikes across the country.
Hiking during the winter can be fun, as long as you follow cold-weather tips provided by the American Hiking Society. Just a few simple essentials include dressing in layers, wearing raingear, a hat and appropriate footwear and carrying food and water. Sunscreen and sunglasses may be necessary to prevent sunburn from the glare off of snow (*if we’re so lucky).
About Arkansas State Parks: Arkansas state parks and museums cover 54,353 acres of forest, wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation facilities and unique historic and cultural resources. The system includes 1,100 buildings (including 183 historic structures), six National Historic Landmarks, a National Natural Landmark and 16 sites on the National Register of Historic Places.
The state parks have 1,771 camp sites, 1,050 picnic sites, 208 cabins, four lodges, eight restaurants, 10 marinas and 415 miles of trails. Eight million visitors annually come from all regions of the country. Park staffs provide over 42,000 education programs, activities and special events to more than 700,000 participants each year. Established in 1927, Arkansas State Parks preserve special places for future generations, provide quality recreation and education opportunities, enhance the state’s economy through tourism, and provide leadership in resource conservation.
Meg Matthews is the Public Information Coordinator for Arkansas State Parks. She enjoys hiking, biking and swimming at state parks with her friends and family. Meg has recently joined the state parks team after spending years as a broadcast journalist. She is excited to tell all of the wonderful stories about state parks!