North Carolina’s New Year tradition of family adventure, exercise and reconnecting with nature continues in 2019 with First Day Hikes throughout the state parks system on Tuesday, January 1, 2019.
More than 40 guided hikes are scheduled for New Year’s Day, ranging from short “leg-stretchers” to multi-mile rambles, most featuring educational programs led by rangers along the way. All state parks will be open on the holiday. In NC, this popular tradition began at Eno River State Park more than 40 years ago. Eno River’s first day hike alone draws more than 800 visitors.
Said Dwayne Patterson, state parks director:
“First Day Hikes are a time for the whole family or a group of friends to enjoy our state’s outstanding natural resources together. This is a great opportunity to introduce your children or a friend to hiking and start your year off right with fresh air and exercise.”
Each state park and state recreation area puts its own stamp on First Day Hikes. Follow up a hike at Dismal Swamp State Park with hot chocolate and cookies or brave the ice and snow for a hike at Elk Knob for spectacular views. Learn about some of our Piedmont’s flora and fauna at Haw River or discover the fire-dependent ecology of longleaf pine forests at Carvers Creek. Explore Goose Creek’s Spanish moss-draped live oaks or explore Medoc Mountain in the heart of the state.
As an added bonus, visitors involved with the NC State Parks 100-Mile Challenge — to walk, hike, paddle, cycle or otherwise explore 100 miles in the state parks — can add First Day Hikes mileage to their totals. First Day Hikes are also a great time to get started on your own New Year’s resolutions with the 100-mile challenge. Details about the 100-Mile Challenge can be found at www.nc100miles.org
Nationally, First Day Hikes is promoted by America’s State Parks and the National Association of State Park Directors, with more than 400 hikes scheduled in state parks across the country. A list of NC First Day Hikes is online at www.ncparks.gov/first-day-hikes.
NC State Parks manages more than 234,000 acres of iconic landscape within NC’s state parks, state recreation areas and state natural areas. It administers the NC Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, including its local grants program, as well as a state trails program, NC Natural and Scenic Rivers and more, all with a mission dedicated to conservation, recreation and education. The state parks system welcomes more than 19 million visitors annually.
The NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of the state. NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, and more. See the NCDNCR website at www.ncdcr.gov.
Source: Katie Hall, NC State Parks