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 2019 with an invigorating First Day Hike at an Arkansas state park near you. On January 1, all 50 states will participate in the eighth annual national event that encourages everyone to celebrate the New Year with an outdoor exploration.
“It's fun to do a First Day Hike at a state park because while you walk, you make connections with others who are excited to be part of this nationwide event,” said Arkansas State Parks Chief of Interpretation and Program Services Kelly Farrell. “There is a growing, dedicated following of families who now treasure First Day Hikes as a tradition. We always swap stories about where we went in past years, and reminisce about the weather--maybe it was super cold or exceptionally lovely--either way made memories and enjoyed spending the first day of the year outdoors.”
Here’s a link a list of hikes being offered January 1st at Arkansas State Parks.
“We are very excited to host First Day Hikes all over Arkansas as a part of this national effort to get people outdoors and into our parks,” said Arkansas State Parks Director Grady Spann. “First Day Hikes are a great way for families to start off the new year with a walk or hike in one of our beautiful state parks.”
Last year, 48 hikes were scheduled at 34 parks. Collectively, 279 hikers covered nearly 296 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 33,000 people took part in guided hikes that covered more than 70,500 miles on 1,100 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 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!