HARRISBURG – Helping visitors ring in 2012 with healthy exercise and a glimpse of nature’s winter beauty, the Bureau of State Parks will sponsor free, guided hikes in 13 state parks on New Year’s Day as part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative in all 50 states.
“We are excited to join in hosting these hikes as part of this national effort to get people outdoors and into our parks,” said Bureau of State Parks Director John Norbeck. “First Day Hikes are a great way to cure cabin fever and burn off those extra holiday calories by starting off the New Year with an invigorating walk or hike in one of our beautiful state parks.”
Organized by the National Association of State Park Directors, the nationwide, New Year’s Day hikes originated more than 20 years ago in Milton, Mass. The program was launched to promote both healthy lifestyles throughout the year and year-round recreation at state parks. State involvement has to grown to the point where, for the first time in 2012, all 50 state park systems will join together to sponsor First Day Hikes.
“We hope to draw both novices and trail-hardened veterans alike into our state parks in what will become an annual salute to healthy exercise and the winter beauty and serenity of our 120 state parks,” Norbeck said. “Weather will dictate activities at our state parks on Jan. 1, but different hikes will match different abilities. The accent is on enjoyment.”
Pennsylvania State Park staff and volunteers will lead the hikes, which are usually about one or two miles, but can be longer depending on the park and its terrain. Details about hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain and tips regarding proper clothing are listed on the America’s State Parks website: www.americasstateparks.org.
“What better way to kick off the New Year than with a hike at a state park?” said Ruth Coleman, president of the National Association of State Park Directors. “Think of it as the start of a new and healthy lifestyle for the whole family. Whether you’re staying close to home or traveling, join us at one of America’s State Parks on New Year’s Day.”
Pennsylvania hikes will be offered at the following state parks: Delaware Canal, Bucks and Northampton counties; Hickory Run,Carbon County; Hills Creek, Tioga County; Keystone, Westmoreland County; Kings Gap, Cumberland County; Kinzua Bridge,McKean County; Laurel Hill, Somerset County; Moraine, Butler County; Nolde Forest, Berks County; Parker Dam, Clearfield County; Promised Land, Pike County; Shawnee, Bedford County and Sinnemahoning, Cameron County.
Additional details can be found at www.dcnr.state.pa.us; click on State Parks under “Quick Links,” then select “Featured Events.”