Start the New Year off right by taking a hike in one of Florida’s state parks on January 1, 2013. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Florida Park Service is offering guided hikes on New Year’s Day as part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative. State parks in all 50 states are participating in this collaborative effort to encourage people to begin the New Year by rejuvenating in nature and connecting with the outdoors.
America’s State Parks offer a variety of beautiful settings for outdoor recreation and exploration all year round. First Day Hikes are a great way to burn off those extra holiday calories and to be introduced to what the state parks provide their guests. First Day Hikes provide plenty of different ways to explore unique and cultural treasures close to home.
Park staff and volunteers will lead the hikes that range from leisurely strolls to longer hikes depending upon the park. The following are a sampling of the Florida State parks offering First Day Hikes in the central Florida area:
- Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park – 10:15 a.m. start for Fechtel Tract guided horseback ride, 11:00 a.m. start for Katie’s Landing Hike with Biologist Paul Lammardo
- Palatka-to-St. Augustine State Trail – 9:00 a.m. take a free hike/bike (leashed pets okay)
- Anastasia State Park – 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. join Park Services Specialist, Cristy Leonard for a geocaching scavenger hunt/interpretive walk through the Ancient Dunes interpretive trail
- Blue Spring State Park – 8:00 a.m. meet to hike along Blue Spring run to document the numbers and distribution of manatees in the spring run on the first day of 2013
- De Leon Springs State Park – 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. hike with a ranger to learn the park’s natural and cultural history including the plants and animals found in the area
- Wekiwa Springs State Park – 11:00 a.m. volunteer and CSO President Don Philpot will lead a guided hike from the spring to Sand Lake where participants will return by tram
- Rock Springs Run State Reserve – 11:00 a.m. Ranger Dennis Parsons will highlight the historical aspects of the town of Ethel
- Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park – 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. a park ranger will lead a guided hike around the coquina sugar mill ruins, remnants of the manor house, workers village and interpretive displays
To learn more about these First Day Hikes and other parks offering them visit the Florida State Park website and check the event page under Things To Do in the menu bar. To find First Day Hikes in other states visit the America’s State Parks website.