From Hawaii to Texas to Maine, a record-breaking 27,861 people from across the nation kicked off the New Year with a First Day Hike on Jan. 1. All 50 states joined in on the fun, offering special hikes and activities to encourage their citizens to get outside and enjoy nature.
“Families across the nation welcomed the New Year with America’s State Parks by hiking in some of our nation’s most beautiful public lands,” Priscilla Geigis, president of the National Association of State Park Directors, said in a statement.
First Day Hikes contributed to 885 special hikes nationwide, with nearly 28,000 participants logging a total of 66,811 miles. The annual event, sponsored by America’s State Parks, highlights the value of state parks in providing year-round recreation, connecting Americans to the outdoors and promoting healthy lifestyles.
This year’s participation trumped last year’s record turnout of 22,000.
“We are excited so many people are making First Day Hikes an annual tradition to start the year off on the right foot by getting outside and taking advantage of the scenic and family-friendly trails found in State Parks,” Gregory Miller, president of American Hiking Society, which encouraged its national membership to take part in First Day Hikes, said in a statement.
From guided history tours to campfire demonstrations, each park had something different to offer. To view photos and read more about individual adventures, check out #firstdayhikes on social media.
First Day Hikes, which originated more than 20 years ago at Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Mass., was launched to promote both healthy lifestyles and year-round recreation.
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 7,000 park areas and visitation that exceeds 720 million annually, the economic impact to local communities is estimated to exceed $20 billion each year.
America’s State Parks, an alliance of state park systems in all 50 states, is committed to promoting outdoor recreation in state parks as a way to address obesity, especially among children. Encouraging kids to get outside and unplug from electronics creates a unique connection with nature that promotes physical and mental well-being and promotes creativity and stewardship of our shared resources.