State Parks Offering More than 350 First Day Hikes Jan. 1

The national campaign to promote healthy family outings began more than 20 years ago at a Massachusetts park. This year is the first time all 50 state park systems are sponsoring First Day Hikes.

Jan. 1, 2012, is not a holiday for every American. State parks nationwide will be open that day, with more than 350 free First Day Hikes planned. This is the first year that all 50 state park systems are offering free, guided hikes on New Year's Day, the organization America's State Parks announced.

First Day Hikes originated more than 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation park in Milton, Mass., as a program promoting recreation and family healthy lifestyles year round. Many other states joined in with their own Jan. 1 programs, according to America's State Parks.

"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."

Full lists of Jan. 1 hikes searchable by state and park are available at http://www.americasstateparks.org/first-day-hikes.

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