State parks celebrate new year with First Day Hikes Jan. 1

Rejuvenate by taking a family friendly trek through a state park close to home
December 30, 2013

Delaware State Parks will sponsor free, guided hikes in state parks New Year’s Day, Wednesday, Jan. 1, as part of America's State Parks’ First Day Hikes initiative in all 50 states.

These hikes offer individuals and families the opportunity to rejuvenate and connect with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on New Year’s Day. First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family. Hikers are encouraged to share their adventure on social media with #firstdayhikes.

In the Cape Region, hikes will be held at 11 a.m. at Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes, and 1 p.m., at Delaware Seashore State Park, south of Rehoboth Beach.

“We are excited to host First Day Hikes as part of this national effort to get people outdoors and into our parks. First Day Hikes are a great way to cure cabin fever and burn off those extra holiday calories by starting off the New Year with an invigorating walk or hike in one of our beautiful state parks,” said Ray Bivens, Delaware State Parks director.

“Last year, we made history by hosting 22,000 people in all 50 states who hiked a total of 43,911 miles in our state parks across the country when we launched America’s State Parks First Day Hikes,” said Priscilla Geigis, president of the National Association of State Park Directors. “Think of it as the start of a new and healthy lifestyle for the whole family. Whether you’re staying close to home or traveling, join us at one of America’s State Parks on New Year’s Day!”

America’s State Parks boast a variety of beautiful settings for year-round outdoor recreation, and each First Day Hike will offer an opportunity to explore the unique natural and cultural treasures close to home. From California to Maine, hikers can climb hills and mountaintops, walk along ponds and beaches, and traverse trails through forests, fields and prairies.

Visitors can listen to birds, breathe in the fresh air, discover wildlife tracks and feel the wind and the warmth of the sun or the coldness of the snow. Visitors can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of nature in winter, experience spectacular views and vistas and benefit from the company of a knowledgeable state park guide.

“Studies have proven that getting outdoors is one good way to relax and recharge the body, mind and spirit.” stated Phil McNelly, NASPD’s executive director. “We hope that hiking along a trail in a state park will become part of an individual’s or family’s regular exercise routine.”

First Day Hikes originated more than 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Mass. The program was launched to promote both healthy lifestyles throughout the year and year round recreation at state parks. Last year marked the first time all 50 state park systems joined together to sponsor First Day Hikes. Park staff and volunteers will lead the hikes, which average one to two miles or longer depending on the state park.

Details about hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain and tips regarding proper clothing are listed on the America’s State Parks website. Visit to find a First Day Hike.

Information about trail difficulty, location of trail head and more is available at

America's State Parks is committed to promoting outdoor recreation in state parks as a way to address obesity, especially among children. Getting kids outside and unplugged from video games and other electronic media creates a unique connection with nature that promotes physical and mental well-being and encourages creativity and stewardship of shared resources.

The mission of the NASPD and America's State Parks is to promote and advance the state park systems of America for their own significance, as well as for their important contributions to the nation’s environment, heritage, health and economy.

Each of Delaware’s 16 state parks has unique natural, recreational, educational, cultural and historical features that offer endless opportunities for children and families to have fun in the outdoors. For a complete list of year-round public programs and more information about the parks, go to