Monday, December 30, 2013

Maine State Parks to Celebrate the New Year with First Day Hikes across the state on January 1, 2014

Rejuvenate by taking a family friendly trek through a nearby state park

Augusta, Maine - The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's Bureau of Parks and Lands will sponsor free, guided hikes in five (5) state parks on New Year's Day as part of America's State Parks First Day Hikes initiative. That initiative, held in all 50 states, offers individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on January 1, 2014 at a state park close to home.

"First Day Hikes are an opportunity to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family," said Governor Paul R. LePage. "It is healthy and fun way to ring in the New Year, celebrate our shared achievements and look to 2014 with optimism and a renewed focus."

Commissioner Walt Whitcomb stressed the importance of beginning the New Year with a healthy lifestyle. "There is no better place to start the New Year with a healthy lifestyle than state parks. State parks offer wonderful opportunities for exercise and moments to reflect away from electronic display screens and the constant barrage of information," said Whitcomb. "In the coming year, the DACF is looking to identify more ways to connect healthy outdoor activities and healthy, locally grown foods and produce."

"This will be the first of many exciting Maine state park offerings planned for 2014," said Will Harris, Director of the Bureau of Parks and Lands. "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. "We are excited to host First Day Hikes as part of this national effort to get people outdoors and into state parks."

Park staff and volunteers will lead the hikes, which average one to two miles or longer depending on the state park.

First Day Hikes will be offered at the following locations and times:

Lily Bay State Park, Beaver Cove - 12 noon - Leisurely 1-hour ranger led hike along the shore of Moosehead Lake to investigate the wonders of the season. Wear warm clothes and sturdy shoes or boots. Meet at the entry booth parking lot. FMI: (207) 695-2700

Popham Beach State Park, Phippsburg - 1:30 p.m. - Easy 1-mile hike on the Fox Island tombolo investigating tidal pools. Wear warm clothes and sturdy footwear. Meet at the West side parking lot. FMI: (207) 389-1335

Range Ponds State Park, Poland - 12:30 p.m. - 1.5 mile ranger lead hike on our interpretive trail and along the beach; the trail is easy with one short hill; visitors are encourage to bring warm clothes, boots or snowshoes if the snow is deep. Meet at flag pole in front of bathroom buildings. FMI: (207) 998-4104

Sebago Lake State Park, Casco - 10:30 a.m. - 1.5 mile woodlands hike. Snacks will be provided and hikers should wear warm clothes and sturdy foot wear. Snowshoes are a good idea if people have them. Meet at the day use area boat launch. FMI: (207) 693-6231

Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park - 10:00 a.m. - 0.3 mile guided walk to enjoy ‘Winter in the Woods' and learn how plants and animals survive the cold winter months. The program length is approximately 1 hour in length; please dress for the weather. Meet at the Picnic shelter by second parking lot; dogs are not suitable for this hike. FMI: (207) 865-4465.

According to the National Association of State Parks Directors (NASPD), last year's national event has 22,000 participants who hiked 43,911 miles in our state parks across the country. For More Information about hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain and tips regarding proper clothing and similar events in other states, visit: http://www.americasstateparks.org

For more information on the Maine State Parks, go to: http://www.parksandlands.com

For more information about the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, go to: http://www.maine.gov/acf

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