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Virginia State Parks offering free guided New Year's Day hikes

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Finishers medals for the 2017 Little Rock Marathon Weekend events share a candy-related “Runalicious” theme

For the sixth year in a row, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is partnering with America's State Parks to offer free, guided First Day Hikes in state parks across Oregon on New Year's Day. All seasonal state park facilities will remain open on the holiday. As an added bonus, hikers just might see bald eagles overhead on this 1.2-mile, 1-hour moderately rugged hike. "In addition to the health benefits of an invigorating hike, First Day Hikes will be an opportunity to learn more about what the state parks and forests offer the people of Pennsylvania". "It's also a reminder that the state parks are a year-round resource for recreation, wellness and learning for more than 17 million visitors". "Whether you join DEEP for a guided hike or venture out on your own, you will not be disappointed in the variety of hiking trails CT has to offer".

Sand Hills State Park is northeast of Hutchinson off Old K-61 Highway.

Prince Gallitzin State Park, Patton, 10 a.m., naturalist-led hike on Turkey Ridge Trail.

The free, guided hikes will be hosted by Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation friends groups and park staff.

Last year almost 55,000 people rang in the New Year, collectively hiking over 133,000 miles throughout the country on the guided hikes.

Cowans Gap State Park, Fort Loudon, 2 p.m., hike around the lake or up to the overlook. Hot chocolate will be served back at the center.

In South Jersey, the longest is a 7.4-mile moderate-difficulty walk through the pygmy pines of Bass River State Forest in Burlington County, in which trees are scarcely as tall as people.

The Division of Parks and Forestry manages almost 450,000 acres, including 40 state parks and 11 state forests. For more information about the program and hikes being offered all over the country, visit www.naspd.org/initiatives-special-programs/first-day-hikes/. The daily pass for entry to most parks costs $7 per vehicle; annual passes are available for $70. Snowshoes and/or skis are not required for the hike but can be used.

Everyone wants to start the new year on the right foot, and for some, that might include a hike.

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