Salem, OR – The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) invites the public to ring in 2015 by participating in one of 31 guided hikes to take place in state parks on New Year’s Day. This is the fourth year that OPRD has participated in First Day Hikes, a nationwide initiative sponsored by America’s State Parks (www.americasstateparks.org) to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors and celebrate the New Year by getting out for a walk in a state park. Last year, more than 940 people participated in First Day Hikes in Oregon.
OPRD will waive the day-use parking fees on Jan. 1 for all visitors to participating state parks that normally require a permit. 29 parks are participating in First Day Hikes this year:
Portland Metro area:
Columbia River Gorge:
Many of the First Day Hikes will be interpretive presentations focusing on local wildlife, plant species, geology, or history. Unique hikes this year include a “bring-your-own-horse” hike/ride that will be led by a ranger on a mule, a beach debris pickup hike, and a bike hike. Some parks will be offering light refreshments or warm drinks to participants at the completion of the event. To get more details about specific hikes, including directions to the park and a description of the length and terrain, visit bit.ly/OPRDcalendar online and search for “First Day Hikes” under Event Category.
This year, OPRD is asking participants to share photos of their First Day Hike via social media by using the hashtag #ORfirstdayhikes for Twitter and Instagram or tagging “Oregon State Parks” on Facebook. Images can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
OPRD reminds those planning to join a hike on the 1st to dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, and bring along water as well as a camera and/or binoculars. In case of inclement weather, each park should be contacted directly to find out about cancellation—phone numbers are available online.
More information about Oregon state parks is available at www.oregonstateparks.org.