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Free guided First Day Hikes return to state parks on Jan. 1

Dec. 27, 2014

Salem, OR – The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) invites the public to ring in 2015 by participating in one of 31 guided hikes to take place in state parks on New Year’s Day. This is the fourth year that OPRD has participated in First Day Hikes, a nationwide initiative sponsored by America’s State Parks (www.americasstateparks.org) to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors and celebrate the New Year by getting out for a walk in a state park.  Last year, more than 940 people participated in First Day Hikes in Oregon.
OPRD will waive the day-use parking fees on Jan. 1 for all visitors to participating state parks that normally require a permit. 29 parks are participating in First Day Hikes this year:
Portland Metro area:
·       L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park, 9-11 a.m.—meet at Hilltop Day-use Area picnic shelter
·       Milo McIver State Park, 10-11:30 a.m.—meet at lower boat ramp of Riverbend Day-use Area
·       Tryon Creek State Natural Area, 9-11 a.m.—meet at Nature Center
Columbia River Gorge:
·       Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.—meet at Mark O. Hatfield East trailhead in Mosier
·       Rooster Rock State Park, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. —meet at far east end of parking lot
Willamette Valley/Cascades:
·       Champoeg State Heritage Area, 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 1:30-3:30 p.m.—meet at visitor center
·       Elijah Bristow State Park, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.—bring your horse and meet at equestrian staging area
·       Luckiamute Landing State Natural Area, 9:30-11:30 a.m.—meet at north trailhead
·       North Santiam State Recreation Area, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.—meet at North Santiam picnic shelter
·       Silver Falls State Park, 10-11 a.m.—meet on porch of South Falls Lodge
·       Willamette Mission State Park, 10-11:30 a.m. and 1-2:30 p.m.—meet at main entrance flagpole loop
Southern Oregon:
·       Tou Velle State Recreation Site, 11 a.m.-noon—meet at picnic area A
·       Valley of the Rogue State Park, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.—meet at program area
·       Beverly Beach State Park, 10 a.m.-noon—meet at day-use parking area
·       Bullards Beach State Park, 10-11:30 a.m.—meet at the campground amphitheater
·       Cape Lookout State Park, noon-3 p.m.—meet at Cape Trail trailhead parking lot 2.75 miles south of campground
·       Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park, 1-2 p.m.—meet in front of campground host site and wood bin
·       D River State Recreation Site, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.—meet in wayside parking area near beach entrance
·       Ecola State Park, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.­—meet at the Ecola Point parking lot near Indian Beach trailhead.
·       Fort Stevens State Park, 9-11 a.m.—meet at Coffenbury Lake north parking lot
·       Harris Beach State Park, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. —bring your bike and meet at booth parking lot.
·       Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park, noon -2 p.m.—meet at West Woahink Meeting Hall
·       South Beach State Park, 9-10:30 a.m.—meet at day-use parking area
·       Umpqua Lighthouse State Park, 10-11 a.m.—meet at Lake Marie day-use parking lot
Central/Eastern Oregon:
·       OC&E Woods Line State Trail, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., meet at the Switchbacks near summit of Bliss Road south of Sprague River
·       Cottonwood Canyon State Park, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.—meet at day-use visitor center
·       Emigrant Springs State Heritage Area, noon-1 p.m.—meet at community building
·       Iwetemlaykin State Heritage Site, 10-11 a.m.—meet at parking area next to Highway 82
·       Smith Rock State Park, 10 a.m.-noon—meet at welcome center yurt
Many of the First Day Hikes will be interpretive presentations focusing on local wildlife, plant species, geology, or history. Unique hikes this year include a “bring-your-own-horse” hike/ride that will be led by a ranger on a mule, a beach debris pickup hike, and a bike hike. Some parks will be offering light refreshments or warm drinks to participants at the completion of the event. To get more details about specific hikes, including directions to the park and a description of the length and terrain, visit bit.ly/OPRDcalendar online and search for “First Day Hikes” under Event Category.
This year, OPRD is asking participants to share photos of their First Day Hike via social media by using the hashtag #ORfirstdayhikes for Twitter and Instagram or tagging “Oregon State Parks” on Facebook. Images can also be emailed to beth.wilson@oregon.gov.
OPRD reminds those planning to join a hike on the 1st to dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, and bring along water as well as a camera and/or binoculars. In case of inclement weather, each park should be contacted directly to find out about cancellation—phone numbers are available online.
More information about Oregon state parks is available at www.oregonstateparks.org