Delaware Canal State Park celebrates new year with First Day Hike on Jan. 1, 2015

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Hikers on 2012 First Day Hike, Delaware Canal State Park towpath in Easton (Photo: Irene Tatariw Trindle)

Delaware Canal State Park will sponsor a free guided hike on New Year’s Day as part of the America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative. A family friendly hike will take place on the Delaware Canal towpath, beginning at Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve (lower parking lot) at 1635 River Road (PA-32) in New Hope, on Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015, from 1 to 3 p.m.

First Day Hikes will take place in state parks all across America, and offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the new year with friends and family. Leashed, friendly dogs are welcome. More information about the First Day Hike at Delaware Canal State Park is available online.

“We are excited to host First Day Hikes as part of this national effort to get people outdoors and into our parks,” said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti. “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,” she added.

“Last year, we hosted 28,000 people who hiked 66,811 miles in our state parks across the country when we launched America’s State Parks First Day Hikes,” said Priscilla Geigis, President of the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD).  “Think of it as the start of a new and healthy lifestyle, for the whole family. Whether you’re staying close to home or traveling, join us at one of America’s State Parks on New Year’s Day.”

America’s State Parks boast a variety of beautiful settings for year-round outdoor recreation, and each First Day Hike will offer an opportunity to explore the unique natural and cultural treasures close to home.  In Pennsylvania, 22 state parks will offer First Day Hikes in 2015. At Delaware Canal State Park, First Day hikers will take a gentle 2-4 mile walk on the level terrain of the canal towpath and learn a little bit about canal history.  Hikers will pass revolutionary war landmarks such as the Thompson-Neely House and walk along a watered section of the canal.  Visitors can listen to birds, breathe in the fresh air, discover wildlife tracks, feel the wind and the warmth of the sun or the coldness of the snow. Visitors can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of nature in winter, experience spectacular views and vistas and benefit from the company of a knowledgeable state park guide.

“Studies have proven that getting outdoors is one good way to relax and recharge the body, mind and spirit.” stated Phil McNelly, NASPD’s Executive Director.   “We hope that hiking along a trail in a state park will become part of an individual’s or family’s regular exercise routine.”

First Day Hikes originated over 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Massachusetts.  The program was launched to promote both healthy lifestyles throughout the year and year round recreation at state parks.  Last year marked the first time all 50 state park systems have joined together to sponsor First Day Hikes.

America’s State Parks is committed to promoting outdoor recreation in state parks as a way to address obesity, especially among children.  Getting kids outside and unplugged from video games and other electronic media creates a unique connection with nature that promotes physical and mental well-being and encourages creativity and stewardship of our shared resources.

Delaware Canal State Park also offers hiking, biking, and boating opportunities along its length. For a full list of upcoming programs, see below or visit the park’s online events calendar.

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Charlie Sahner

“Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy." - Einstein

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