Arkansas state parks celebrate the start of a new year with first day hikes

First Day Hikes originated over 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. The initiative targeted the first of January-the start of a new year-to promote both healthy lifestyles throughout the year and the year-round recreation that can be experienced locally in state parks.

Through the years, other states joined this health initiative by also offering First Day Hikes and other outdoor recreation programs on New Year’s Day. Now all 50 state park systems join together to sponsor First Day Hikes, according to the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD) and America’s State Parks, an alliance launched by the NASPD to advocate for the healthful and economic benefits provided by the 50 state park systems across the nation (

According to Arkansas State Parks Director Greg Butts, “State parks around Arkansas will join Americas State Parks’ nationwide invitation to the public to enjoy First Day Hikes by offering individuals and families the opportunity to begin the new year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on January 1.”

He emphasized, “Enjoying a state park trail is a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature, and welcome the new year with family or friends.” Butts noted that Arkansas’s state park system includes 142 trails totaling 390 miles. “Explore a trail on your own, or join a state park interpreter on a guided hike. Our interpreters will connect you to the beauty and history of the parks, and you’ll enjoy shared experiences creating memories to last a lifetime.”

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