State parks celebrate with First Day Hikes

Begin 2014 on the right foot with a New Year’s Day hike in a Virginia State Park as part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes. First Day Hikes is a national initiative to get people outdoors and into parks.

“There’s no better place to begin the year than in one of our 36 state parks,” said Virginia State Parks Director Joe Elton. “This is our third year participating in the First Day Hikes program, and it’s proven to be a popular and fun way for visitors to enjoy our parks with friends and family and to begin healthy habits of physical activity that we hope they will continue in the days to come.”

Self-led and ranger-led hikes and activities vary by park. For example, Douthat State Park in Millboro will host a hike led by the Alleghany Highlands Master Naturalists, and Mason Neck State Park in Lorton will hold three ranger-led hikes of varying difficulty to the park’s bird observation blinds.

A complete list of First Day Hikes and details can be found at  

In conjunction with First Day Hikes, Virginia State Parks will hold a special photo contest. Prizes include stays in a lodge and a cabin as well as annual passes. For contest information, visit

Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. For more information about Virginia State Parks activities and amenities, or to make a reservation for one of the more than 1,800 campsites or 300 climate-controlled cabins, call the Virginia State Parks Reservation Center at 800-933-7275 or visit

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