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Maryland Hosted Record 2,100 First Day Hikers

Hikers gather at Assateague State Park, which had the most participants for the 2016 First Day Hike in Maryland.

Assateague State Park had the most First Day Hike participants in Maryland.

Across Maryland, a record-breaking 2,177 people spent the first day of 2016 participating in a First Day Hike. A total of 30 guided hikes were held in 26 Maryland state parks, with participants logging a total of 4,531 miles. Maryland was one of the 50 states that hosted an outdoor adventure as part of the national First Day Hikes initiative, which encourages everyone to celebrate the outdoors on the first day of the new year.

“I participated in a First Day Hike with my family at Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary, where we trekked through fields to the banks of the Patuxent River,” Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said. “We were guided by a knowledgeable Maryland Park Service ranger who informed us about the history and nature of the area as we enjoyed fresh air, exercise and each other’s company. I want to thank Maryland Park Service rangers, staff and volunteers for taking the time out of their holiday to remind us of the rich culture and beauty found in Maryland’s great outdoors.”

From wildlife watching to historical presentations, each park hosted their own unique outing. Guided adventures ranged from exploring the sandy beaches and salty marshes of Assateague State Park, to hearing tales from the past at Dan’s Mountain State Park, to tracking winter wildlife at Elk Neck State Park. Many locations also hosted pet-friendly treks. View some photos here.

This year’s participation increased 28 percent from last year’s record turnout as many participants have made First Day Hikes an annual tradition. Additionally, thousands more visited state parks to enjoy the outdoors on their own on Jan. 1.

State Park Participants Miles Hiked
Assateague 390 390
Cedarville 93 279
Cunningham 45 45
Dan’s Mountain 25 25
Deep Creek 38 114
Elk Neck 24 48
Fair Hill 132 528
Fort Frederick 65 130
Gambrill 60 30
Greenbrier 120 220
Gunpowder 240 420
Herrington 10 10
Janes Island 45 90
Merkle 74 111
New Germany 75 113
Patapsco Valley 236 652
Pocomoke 31 93
Rocks 11 11
Rocky Gap 14 14
Sandy Point 70 280
Seneca 190 532
St. Mary’s 60 180
Susquehanna 41 82
Tawes Garden 36 18
Tuckahoe 40 80
Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail 12 36
TOTAL 2,177 4,531

Sponsored by America’s State Parks, First Day Hikes highlight the value of state parks in providing year-round recreation—connecting Americans to the outdoors and promoting healthy lifestyles. This year, nearly 56,000 people covered approximately 134,000 miles on 1,169 hikes across the country.