(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) – In all 50 states, hikers in America’s State Parks will kick off the new year with healthy, fun, outdoor experiences as part of the annual First Day Hikes event. This year for First Day Hikes, Arkansas State Parks will offer guided hikes at many locations, as well as encourage self-guided walks and hikes throughout the “First Weekend,” January 1 and 2, for those who would like to explore on their own. All participants are eligible to receive a free sticker.
“We are happy to bring back guided hikes this year, and we also invite our guests to take a self-guided hike to kick off the new year outdoors,” said Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism Secretary Stacy Hurst. “Our 52 state parks are located throughout the state, giving Arkansans an opportunity to find the perfect trail at a park close to home.”
Participants can receive a free sticker one of two ways:
- Take part in a guided hike and receive a sticker at the program.
- Log self-guided hikes in Arkansas State Parks by filling out a form (to be posted on ArkansasStateParks.com/FirstDayHikes on Dec. 31) and receive a free sticker in the mail for each person in your group.
“First Day Hikes are a new tradition for so many families and friends of Arkansas State Parks,” said Arkansas State Parks Deputy Director Shea Lewis. “We love being able to offer many different opportunities for our guests to honor these traditions and continue to build meaningful connections to the resources of state parks.”
Arkansas State Parks asks guests to recreate responsibly and remember:
- When the parking lot is full, the park is full. Consider planning your hikes on less-visited trails or off-peak times of the day. Consider having a Plan B in place.
- Dress for the weather. Wear and bring warm layers and sturdy shoes.
- Bring water and snacks.
- Practice physical distancing. Keep 6’ distance from hikers who don’t live in your immediate household.
- Stay on designated trails. Shortcuts cause damage and are unsafe.
- Practice Leave No Trace principles.
A few park locations are closed on the January 1 holiday but will be open on January 2. Visit the Arkansas State Parks event calendar to find a First Day Hike near you.
About Arkansas State Parks
Arkansas State Parks is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism. Arkansas state parks and museums cover 54,400 acres of forest, wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation facilities, and unique historic and cultural resources. The system includes 1,100 buildings (including 183 historic structures), six National Historic Landmarks, a National Natural Landmark, 16 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, and War Memorial Stadium.
The state parks have 1,800 campsites, 1,050 picnic sites, 208 cabins, five lodges, and 415 miles of trails. Eight million visitors annually come from all regions of the country. Park staffs provide over 42,000 education programs, activities, and special events to more than 700,000 participants each year.
Established in 1923, Arkansas State Parks preserve special places for future generations, provide quality recreation and education opportunities, enhance the state’s economy through tourism, and provide leadership in resource conservation. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and visit ArkansasStateParks.com and ArkansasStateParks.com/media to learn more about everything we have to offer.