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Start Your Healthy New Year at ‘First Day Hike’ along Delaware Canal

Hikers on First Day Hike in Easton. (Photo: Irene Tatariw Trindle)

Delaware Canal State Park will sponsor a free guided hike on New Year’s Day in New Hope as part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes nationwide initiative.

The family-friendly hike will take place on the Delaware Canal towpath at Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve (lower parking lot) at 1635 River Road (Route 32) on Monday, Jan. 1, from 1 to 3 p.m.

It’s part of a Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) program providing free, guided hikes in 30 state parks on New Year’s Day under the America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative in all 50 states.

“Our First Day Hikes help remind people our state parks and forests are open for healthy outdoor adventures in all four seasons, including winter,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “They are a terrific way to make a resolution to enjoy nature, get more exercise and encourage keeping that New Year’s resolve through the coming years.”

Dunn said 2017’s First-Day events drew almost 1,970 visitors who hiked more than 5,180 miles in state parks across Pennsylvania.

The hikes originated more than 25 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation – a state park in Milton, Massachusetts.

At Delaware Canal State Park, First Day hikers will take a gentle 2-4 mile walk, starting in the lower parking lot of Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve and heading two miles north on the Delaware Canal towpath toward New Hope, then back.

All ages and abilities are welcome, as are leashed, friendly dogs. Hike at your own pace and turn back when you wish, say organizers. Hikers will pass historical landmarks and scenic Delaware River vistas, and can listen to birds, breathe in the fresh air, discover wildlife tracks, and feel the wind and the warmth of the sun. Hikers will also benefit from the company of a knowledgeable state park guide.

“Whether you’re staying close to home or traveling, join us at one of Pennsylvania’s state parks on New Year’s Day!” Dunn said. “For the seventh consecutive year, these hikes offer a great cure for cabin fever and a chance to burn off those extra holiday calories. And what better way to welcome the new year than with an invigorating walk or hike in one of our beautiful state parks where, regardless of the season, we are excited to showcase their beauty?”

Organized by the National Association of State Park Directors to promote both healthy lifestyles throughout the year and year-round recreation at state parks, all 50 states have cooperatively sponsored First Day Hikes since 2012.

“America’s State Parks provide havens for young and old alike to discover the tranquility and beauty of nature through outdoor recreation,” said Lewis Ledford, executive director of the National Association of State Park Directors. “Hiking offers inspiring ways to improve your physical and mental health, while exploring beautiful public lands in every state.”

More information about First Day Hikes at Delaware Canal State Park is available online.

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