It’s Almost Resolution Time

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Hikers & Mountain Bikers at Devils Den State Park (photo courtesy of Arkansas Dept. of Parks & Tourism)
Hikers & Mountain Bikers at Devils Den State Park (photo courtesy of Arkansas Dept. of Parks & Tourism)

Most New Year’s resolutions involve things like getting in shape or visiting new places or even spending more time outside. This year Arkansas State Parks is helping with those goals. They are hosting a “First Day Hike” program in many of the parks on New Year’s Day. Here is a portion of the news release they sent out:

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Arkansas State Parks Joins This Nationwide Invitation to Begin the New Year by Joining Family or Friends on a Trek along a State Park Trail Close to Home

First Day Hikes originated over 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Massachusetts.  The initiative targeted the first of January—the start of a new year—to promote both healthy lifestyles throughout the year and the year-round recreation that can be experienced locally in state parks.  Through the years, other states have joined this health initiative by also offering First Day Hikes and other outdoor recreation programs on New Year’s Day.  January 1, 2012, will mark the first time all 50 state park systems will join together to sponsor First Day Hikes, according to the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD) and America’s State Parks, an alliance launched by the NASPD to advocate for the healthful and economic benefits provided by the 50 state park systems across the nation.  America’s State Parks invites the public to enjoy free, guided First Day Hikes on New Year’s Day 2012 at local state parks.

According to Arkansas State Parks Director Greg Butts, “State parks around Arkansas will join Americas State Parks’ nationwide invitation to the public to enjoy First Day Hikes by offering individuals and families the opportunity to begin the new year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on January 1.”  He emphasized, “Enjoying a state park trail is a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature, and welcome the New Year with family and friends.”  Butts noted that Arkansas’s state park system includes 137 trails totaling 370 miles.  “Explore a trail on your own, or join a state park interpreter on a guided hike.  Our interpreters will connect you to the beauty and history found in the parks, and you’ll enjoy shared experiences that will make memories to last a lifetime.”

“Diversity is the hallmark of Arkansas’s state park system, and that is certainly represented in the variety of trail experiences to be enjoyed in our parks,” said Butts.  Arkansas State Parks trails range in length from short nature walks to overnight backpacking adventures.  Trails lead hikers through rugged, scenic terrain in Arkansas’s two mountain ranges, the Ozarks and the Ouachitas.  Trails stretch along the shores of Arkansas’s great lakes and into bottomlands teeming with wildlife.  Hikers can follow the banks of renowned rivers including wild and scenic streams.  Trail enthusiasts can explore state historic sites and Arkansas’s diamond site.  Barrier-free trails accommodate the needs of visitors with disabilities.  And among this wide variety of trails are nationally-designated trails.  In addition to walking and hiking trails, the state park system also includes biking, equestrian, river, and off highway vehicle trails.  There are even trails on the water.

You can find a list of park led hikes on their calendar of events page. You can even find one that fits the time schedule of sleeping in or your favorite bowl game. If you would like more of a personal hike you can find the perfect trail on their trails database. And who says you have to hike? They have mountain bike, equestrian and kayak/canoe trails.

See also  New Year's Outdoor Resolutions 2024

So if you’d like some help getting started with your resolutions, make plans to join Arkansas State Parks in a “First Day Hike” program near you.

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