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~Ring in the New Year with a hike at a State Park~


Guided by staff and volunteers, First Day Hikes are not only great exercise, they offer an opportunity to learn about unique aspects of the park.

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service invites the public to get back to nature in the New Year by participating in First Day Hikes 2014 on Wednesday, Jan. 1.

First Day Hikes offer individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenating and reconnecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on Jan. 1 at a state park. First Day Hikes are aimed at getting people outside to exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family. The Florida Park Service is proud to host more than 48 events around the state.

“I encourage Florida families and visitors to begin 2014 in our state parks and enjoy the natural world around you,” said Donald Forgione, Florida Park Service Director. “Join others across Florida for a First Day Hike as part of a healthy lifestyle.”

In October, the Florida State Parks System won its third Gold Medal of Excellence from the National Recreation and Parks System. This makes Florida the first three-time gold medal award recipient. Since 1935, the Florida Park Service has provided recreational activities, while preserving, interpreting and restoring natural and cultural resources.

Park staff and volunteers will guide these hikes, offering educational commentary along the way. Start times will vary by park. Please check the park’s event page for details. The events will take place:

Northwest Florida

·         Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park, Tallahassee

·         Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola

·         Blackwater River State Park, Holt

·         Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park. St. George Island

·         Florida Caverns State Park, Marianna

·         Grayton Beach State Park, Grayton Beach

·         St. Andrews State Park, Panama City

·         T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Port St. Joe

·         Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park, Niceville

·         Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, Santa Rosa Beach

·         Torreya State Park, Bristol

Northeast Florida

·         Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve, Cedar Key

·         Ichetucknee Springs State Park, Fort White

·         Little Talbot Island State Park, Jacksonville

·         Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, Cross Creek

·         O'Leno State Park, High Springs

·         Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, Micanopy

·         Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, White Springs

·         Suwannee River State Park, Live Oak

Central Florida

·         Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine

·         Blue Spring State Park, Orange City

·         Colt Creek State Park, Lakeland

·         De Leon Springs State Park, De Leon Springs

·         Fort Mose Historic State Park, St. Augustine

·         Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach

·         Hontoon Island State Park, Deland

·         Lake Griffin State Park, Fruitland Park

·         Lake Kissimmee State Park, Lake Wales

·         Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park, Sanford

·         Palatka-to-St. Augustine State Trail, Palatka

·         Ravine Gardens State Park, Palatka

·         Rock Springs Run State Reserve, Sorrento

·         Sebastian Inlet State Park, Melbourne Beach

·         Silver Springs State Park, Ocala

·         St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

·         Tomoka State Park, Ormond Beach

·         Wekiwa Springs State Park, Apopka

Southwest Florida

·         Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin

·         Honeymoon Island State Park, Dunedin

·         Lovers Key State Park, Fort Myers Beach

·         Stump Pass Beach State Park, Englewood

South Florida

·         Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key

·         Fort Pierce Inlet State Park, Fort Pierce

·         Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, Fort Lauderdale

·         John D. MacArthur Beach State Park, North Palm Beach

·         John U. Lloyd Beach State Park, Hollywood

·         Savannas Preserve State Park, Port St. Lucie

Visit the website for a complete list of special events in Florida’s state parks.