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December 17, 2013

Maryland State Parks to Host First Day Hikes January 1

by Martha

A Swallow Falls State Park  Adventure Share your adventures using #FirstDayHikes

Did you know that 82 percent of residents who visited a Maryland State Park during the past year rated their experience as good or excellent according to a newly-released poll from Goucher College? See firsthand what makes these places so enjoyable with a First Day Hike on January 1. Twenty-one Maryland State Parks are participating in the third annual event that invites families and friends to celebrate the New Year amid the sights, sounds and wonder of our natural world with fun, guided hikes.

“We are delighted to host First Day Hikes as part of this national effort to reconnect people with their natural world through invigorating treks in our parks,” said Maryland Park Service Superintendent Nita Settina. “Last year, nearly 600 people of all ages participated in Maryland hikes, and we hope that both familiar and new faces will join us this time around.”

First Day Hikes in Maryland are family-friendly, easy to moderate guided hikes led by park staff and volunteers. Residents and visitors can journey to Cunningham Falls, the longest cascading waterfall in Maryland, or trek to the historic Turkey Point Lighthouse at Elk Neck State Park. Guests can experience the native stands of loblolly pines and catch a glimpse of an Eastern Tiger Salamander at Pocomoke River State Park on the Eastern Shore. For a bit of history, explore the Orange Trail at Cedarville State Forest where Piscataway Indians once made their winter homes due to the mild climate and abundance of game.

For a complete list of First Day Hikes in Maryland, including locations, difficulty, length and specific starting times, visit dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/firstdayhikes.asp. All participants are encouraged to share their First Day Hike adventures on social media using #FirstDayHikes.

The National Association of State Park Directors promotes and advocates for the state park systems across America in providing for conservation and management of natural and cultural resources, quality outdoor recreation experiences, connecting children and families to nature and the outdoors, and more.  With more than 7,000 park areas and visitation that exceeds 720 million annually, the economic impact to local communities is estimated to exceed $20 billion each year. America’s State Parks is an alliance of state park systems in all 50 states.

Released today, the Goucher College Poll asked participating Maryland residents for their perspectives regarding Maryland State Parks, including use, activities, goals and barriers to visitation. Among other items, the results revealed that 69 percent of those polled are likely or very likely to visit historic sites this coming year, followed by hiking at 56 percent. View the results here.

 

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