Archived Story

Parks prepare for First Day Hike

Published 10:44pm Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Goose Creek State Park joins other state parks and recreation areas in hosting First Day Hikes on New Year’s Day.
First Day Hikes provides residents and visitors opportunities to exercise and celebrate nature as a New Year’s Day tradition, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. The North Carolina parks system, America’s State Parks and the National Associated of State Park Directors are promoting First Day Hikes nationally.
Nicole Crider, a ranger at Goose Creek State Park, is organizing the First Day Hike for Jan. 1, 2013. She was unavailable for comment Tuesday.
“I know last year it was quite popular. There were about 60 folks we had. I did it (led) last year,” said Joe Martin, a ranger at the park. “The theme, of course, is to try to get folks out, kicking off the new year with exercise and that type of thing. That’s the reason it’s a four-miler and not a typical half-mile hike.”
He said each park’s First Day Hike incorporates a theme based on something unique to that park or a long-standing tradition related to that park.
The four-mile First Day Hike begins at 2 p.m. at the Ivey Gut parking lot. Other hikes in the park are scheduled for other days. The Ivey Gut hike starts at 2 p.m. Jan. 5 at the Ivey Gut parking lot. The Mallard Creek hike begins at 2 p.m. Jan. 12 at the parking lot at the end of the park road. The Poetry in Nature hike begins at 2 p.m. Jan. 19 at the last parking lot at the end of the park road. The National Natural Landmark hike begins at 2
p.m. Jan. 26 at the swim beach’s parking lot.
For more details about these hikes, call 252-923-2191.
“Exploring the year-round splendor of nature is quickly becoming a New Year’s Day tradition,” said Lewis Ledford, state parks director, in a news release. “Every one of our state parks and state recreation areas is open on the holiday, and the ranger-guided hikes are an excellent way to keep fit during the holidays, connect with nature and develop a deeper appreciation for the rich natural resources that distinguish North Carolina.”
At least 40 guided First Day Hikes are scheduled for Jan. 1, 2013, in North Carolina, and more than 600 hikes in the 50 states. The hikes range from easy treks to challenging excursions.
At Falls Lake State Recreation area, a scavenger hunt will be part of a child-friendly hike, and Hammocks Beach State Park plans an Early Bird Hike at 8:30 a.m. Hanging Rock State Park will present the Five Overlooks Challenge, a 10-mile excursion across the park’s scenic peaks, while hikers at Weymouth Woods Historic Nature Preserve will visit the world’s oldest known longleaf pine. The Eno River Association will offer long and short hikes as part of a decades-old tradition at Eno River State Park.
Details about First Day Hikes in North Carolina can be found under “Education” at www.ncparks.gov and at www.americasstateparks.org, which also lists all hikes nationally.

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