The start of the new year brings with it an opportunity to bundle up and head outdoors.
America’s state parks are hosting First Day Hikes on or around New Year’s Day 2012. The hikes will take place all across the country in an effort to promote state parks and encourage people to start the year with a healthy, outdoor active lifestyle.
Locally, state parks in both Tennessee and Virginia are participating in the event.
In Tennessee, state parks are kicking off the Tennessee State Parks 75th Anniversary year with a series of “First Hikes” at each park. A number of Virginia state parks are also holding First Day Hikes or inviting guests to hit their park trails for the day.
Everyone is invited to join in the fun. But there’s no time to waste. The hikes are slated to take place either Jan. 1 or Jan. 2 — depending on the park — so lace up those hiking boots and get moving.
Local hikes include:
Roan Mountain State Park
Location: Carter County
Date and Time: 9 a.m., Jan. 1
Details: Meet up at the park’s conference center to go “Walking in a Winter Wonderland.” Take a ranger-led hike down the Tom Gray Trail as it meanders along the Doe River. Be prepared for cold and snowy conditions — the average low temperature on the mountain in January is 24 degrees. Following the hike, return to the conference center to enjoy hot cocoa and homemade cookies by the hearth. For more information call 1-800-250-8620 or visit the park’s Web site at http://www.tn.gov/environment/parks/RoanMtn/
Davy Crockett Birthplace
Date and Time: 1 p.m., Jan. 1
Details: Meet up at Crockett Cabin to join a “Pioneer Wassail Walk.” Take a brisk hike from the Crockett Cabin, along the Limestone Creek Trail to the old Collett Mill site and back. Hot wassail and cookies will be served in the cabin before and after the hike, along with old-time stories and a generous helping of history. The route is approximately one mile, consisting of mostly level walking and mild grades. Dress warm and wear appropriate shoes for trail walking. Refreshments will be served while supplies last. For more information call 257-2167 or visit the park’s Web site at http://www.tn.gov/environment/parks/DavyCrockettSHP/
Sycamore Shoals State Park
Date and Time: 10 a.m., Jan. 2
Details: Meet up at park visitor center for the “First in Freedom Hike.” Early settlers from different walks of life came to the frontier seeking to build a new life for their families. They found a paradise beside the Watauga River, and Sycamore Shoals became the heart of several pivotal events that were responsible for the formation of the state and the country. Follow in the footsteps of our ancestors for a guided walk through the park. Experience the historical events surrounding Sycamore Shoals and discover challenges pioneers faced in settling the frontier, to be the first in freedom. For more information call 543-5808 or visit the park’s Web site at http://www.tn.gov/environment/parks/SycamoreShoals/
Warriors Path State Park
Date and Time: 10 a.m., Jan. 2
Details: Meet up at the pool parking lot to join award-winning interpretive specialist Marty Silver for a short hike through the wintry landscape. Come dressed for the weather, and be ready to explore winter habitats. For more information call 245-6917 or visit the park’s Web site at http://www.tn.gov/environment/parks/WarriorsPath/
In Virginia, guests are invited to ring in the new year by spending time hiking in their favorite state park. Trails at Natural Tunnel State Park will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 1.
Those who participate in the Virginia State Parks’ First Day Hikes program on New Year’s Day can enter to win a weeklong cabin rental in one of the Virginia state parks. To enter, take a picture of yourself enjoying one of the trails at Natural Tunnel or another Virginia state park on Jan. 1. Then upload your picture to one of the following locations: Post it at Virginia State Parks’ Facebook page or Google+ page. Or Tweet a photo to @VaStateParks, or send it to their Flickr account and tag it VSP1stDayHike. Or you can e-mail a picture to: email@example.com.
The contest deadline is 5 p.m. Jan. 1.comments powered by Disqus