On Tuesday, all 50 states will participate in the eighth annual event that encourages everyone to celebrate the New Year with an outdoor exploration.
First Day Hikes are planned Tuesday at parks all over Arkansas, including Lake Fort Smith, Mount Magazine, Devil's Den and more.
"It's fun to do a First Day Hike at a state park because while you walk, you make connections with others who are excited to be part of this nationwide event," Kelly Farrell, Arkansas State Parks chief of interpretation and program services says in a news release. "There is a growing, dedicated following of families who now treasure First Day Hikes as a tradition. We always swap stories about where we went in past years, and reminisce about the weather — maybe it was super cold or exceptionally lovely — either way made memories and enjoyed spending the first day of the year outdoors."
In Arkansas last year, 48 hikes were scheduled at 34 parks. Collectively, 279 hikers covered nearly 296 miles.
"We are very excited to host First Day Hikes all over Arkansas as a part of this national effort to get people outdoors and into our parks," Arkansas State Parks Director Grady Spann says in the release. "First Day Hikes are a great way for families to start off the new year with a walk or hike in one of our beautiful state parks."
During the event, park rangers, interpreters and volunteers will share their knowledge of the state's unique natural and cultural features. Participants are encouraged to share their adventures on social media with #FirstDayHikes and #ARstateparks.
"America's State Parks provide havens for young and old alike to discover the tranquility and beauty of nature through outdoor recreation," Lewis Ledford, National Association of State Park Directors executive director, says in the release. "Hiking offers inspiring ways to improve your physical and mental health, while exploring beautiful public lands in every state."
First Day Hikes originated more than 25 years ago. Last year, more than 33,000 people took part in guided hikes that covered more than 70,500 miles on 1,100 different hikes across the country.
Hiking during the winter can be fun, as long as you follow cold-weather tips provided by the American Hiking Society. Just a few simple essentials include dressing in layers, wearing raingear, a hat and appropriate footwear and carrying food and water. Sunscreen and sunglasses may be necessary to prevent sunburn.