Free guided hikes on New Year's Day - at parks near you!

Massachusetts Dept. of Conservation and Recreation

What better way to start the New Year than with recreation outdoors? Many outdoor groups offer activities the first day of the year, which is a boost for those whose resolutions include health, fitness and stress reduction. 

Now First Day Hikes are offered in parks in all 50 states. So, if you've been looking for an excuse to explore state parks near you, New Year's Day may be the perfect opportunity.

"We want to start the year off right to help people with their New Year's resolutions," said Bill Kiger, interpretation and education manager for Alaska State Parks. "This is the first step to doing that physical activity we all pledge to do."

Due to past demand, there will be over 600 events in state parks across America on January 1, 2013. Most of these events include free guided hikes, but there will also be skiing and snowshoeing in some states. Hikes are guided by park rangers, whose expertise will impress anyone curious about local wildlife and ecology.

"It's a way to promote a naturally healthy way of life but also to promote state parks as a year-round recreation option," said Priscilla Geigis, state parks director in Massachusetts and organizer of the national effort. 

"This way, on Jan. 1, you can have people thinking about being outside from the first of the year," said Will Harris, director of Maine's Division of Parks and Public Lands.

To find a First Day Hikes event near you, visit http://www.americasstateparks.org/first-day-hikes.

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