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Take a hike on Jan. 1 for First Day Hikes

Take a hike on Jan. 1 for First Day Hikes

You can give yourself a healthy start for 2018 by venturing out to one of Maryland’s state parks for a free-guided First Day Hike on Monday, Jan. 1.

The First Day Hike is part of a national campaign promoted by America’s State Parks. All 50 states take part in this program, which allows anyone to visit their favorite park with their friends and families to enjoy the outdoors and connect with nature.

Not only are America’s State Parks committed to promoting outdoor enjoyment to help address adult and child obesity, but many believe that being out in nature can improve overall mental and physical health and wellness.

Maryland state parks offer 37 hikes at 32 locations and are led by knowledgeable park staff and volunteers.

“At Maryland’s First Day Hikes, the hikes are primarily led by Park Rangers, experienced volunteers, and Maryland Conservation Corps members,” said Melissa Acuti, chief of interpretation for the Maryland Park Service. “Each park plans their own hike, so they are all slightly different. It is a great opportunity to get some fresh air and learn more about your local park.”

Each park offers a unique spin on their hike so visitors can experience the specific features of that park. Visitors are recommended to register in advance in case of a cancellation.

“First Day Hikes are a popular family activity. Some hikes are also pet-friendly or stroller-friendly. Most hikes are easy for beginners. However, some are more challenging,” Acuti said. “Severe weather may cancel the First Day Hike. Preregistration is recommended for this reason. Call the specific park ahead of time for more details.”

If you decide to take part in one of these hikes at your favorite park, it’s important to be dressed accordingly and prepared for any weather.

“Dress in layers, as you get moving your body will warm up and you may need to shed a layer so that you do not get overheated,” Acuti said. “Wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots. Proper footwear is a must for a good hike. Bring along water and a snack — you will need to fuel your body, and even when it is cold you will still need to stay hydrated.”

 

 

All hikes are on Monday, Jan. 1

Fort Frederick State Park First Day Hike

Time of Event: 1 p.m.

Meeting Location: Fort Frederick State Park Picnic Area, 11100 Fort Frederick Road, Big Pool

Degree of Difficulty: Easy to moderate hike for families

Length of Trail: Approximately 1 mile

Things to bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and shoes appropriate for the weather (rain, snow or shine), and bring water for drinking.

RSVP: Families are encouraged to call Fort Frederick State Park at 301-842-2155 to register

Additional Information: This hike will feature brief stops along the Plantation Trail. This trail was established between 1925 and 1942 as a kind of demonstration area. The purpose was to examine the adaptability of certain tree species to the climate of Western Maryland. The trees were planted by the Daughters of the American Revolution. This trail is not stroller friendly. Pets on a leash are welcome.

 

Gambrill State Park First Day Hike

Time of Event: 4 p.m.

Meeting Location: Meet at the Gambrill State Park High Knob Area Nature Center, 8448 High Knob Road, Frederick, Md. 

Degree of Difficulty: Easy hike

Length of Trail: 1 mile

Things to bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and shoes appropriate for the weather (rain, snow or shine), and bring water for drinking, and a camera (optional).

RSVP: Reservations are recommended. Call Gambrill State Park at 301-271-7574

Additional Information: Join a park ranger for a one-mile round-trip hike along the park's Green and Black Locust Trails in the High Knob Area. This easy hike follows the ridge to three beautiful overlooks. Take advantage of the rare chance to view the valley at sunset. The trail is not stroller accessible and not appropriate for adults carrying children in backpacks due to hazards. Bring a flashlight.

 

Greenbrier State Park First Day Hike

A Winter Hike Around the Lake

Time of Event: Self-guided hike from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., ranger led-hike at 11 a.m.

Meeting Location: Meet at the Greenbrier Visitor Center, 21843 National Pike, Boonsboro,

Degree of Difficulty: Easy hike

Length of Trail: Approximately 1.5 miles

Things to bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and shoes appropriate for the weather (rain, snow or shine), and bring water for drinking, and a camera (optional).

RSVP: Reservations are recommended. Call Greenbrier State Park at 301-791-4767

Additional Information: There will be a self-guided hike from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. which will take you around the lake. There will also be a ranger-led hike around the lake at 11 a.m. For a stroller friendly experience or a walk on a level surface, there is also a self-guided "measured mile" that is available starting at the visitor center. Pets on a leash are welcome. Large groups will be directed to the self-guided hike.

 

South Mountain State Battlefield First Day Hike

Following the Footsteps of Civil War Soldiers

Time of Event: 1 p.m.

Meeting Location: Appalachian Trail Parking Lot adjacent to the Old South Mountain Inn, 6132 Old National Pike, Boonsboro

Degree of Difficulty: Easy to moderate hike for all ages

Length of Trail: 2 miles round trip

Things to bring: Participants are asked to wear clothes and shoes appropriate for the weather (rain, snow or shine), and bring water for drinking, and a camera (optional).

RSVP: Reservations are recommended. Call Greenbrier State Park at 301-791-4767

Additional Information: Join a park ranger for a guided hike through history. Learn about important and stirring events from the Battle of South Mountain, while you hike along a road used by thousands of soldiers during the September 14, 1862 battle. The guided hike begins at Turner's Gap and ends of Fox's Gap. Participants will have the option to spend additional time exploring Fox's Gap and hike back to the parking area on their own. Pets on a leash are welcome. There are no restroom facilities at this location. The hike is not stroller friendly.

CONTACT: For registration, go to Department of Natural Resources website. (http://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/firstdayhikes.aspx

 

 

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