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Identity & Community

State Parks Promoting A Healthy New Year With First Day Hikes

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  Friday marks America's State Parks' 20th annual First Day Hike, inviting park enthusiasts and first-timers alike to get up and get outdoors at a local state park.

“It’s a great opportunity to get people outside in the winter weather when I think a lot of people would prefer to stay inside,” said Lora Woodward, program director for Venture Outdoors. “Really, the winter time is an amazing experience to be able to see snow on the trees, or on the ground, or even frost and just be able to experience the outdoor landscape in a different way.”

New Year's Day marks the fifth year all 50 states will be participating, including Pennsylvania. National organizers say getting outside early in the year might affect people's willingness to do so the remainder of the year. 

Venture Outdoors, which works to increase awareness and participation in recreational outdoor activities in the region, is hosting a hike in Frick Park on Friday where guides will talk about the history, wildlife and current caretakers of Frick Park.

“Whether they join us or go to one of the state parks to do a hike, or just go out with their family after experiencing New Year’s Eve together, to be able to spend some time, I think that’s really beneficial,” said Woodward.

Hiking is a social experience, Woodward said, but just as educational.

More than 30 state parks in Pennsylvania are participating, including a two-hour evening hike at Raccoon Creek State Park that kicks off at 11 p.m. New Year's Eve.