West Virginia’s state parks and state forests are hosting eight “First Day” hikes on Friday to encourage nature lovers and those with New Year’s outdoor fitness resolutions to start 2016 on the right foot, with a guided walk through the woods. [More info: www.wvstateparks.com]
First Day hikes are taking place throughout the nation on Jan. 1, as part of an initiative by the America’s State Parks organization.
Those taking part in Friday’s First Day hikes will receive the West Virginia First Day Hike patch in the mail. The hikes are free and open to the public. Hikers are urged to wear sturdy shoes and dress appropriately for the weather. First Day Hikes will take place at:
- Kanawha State Forest — Join Park Superintendent Kevin Dials at the swimming pool parking lot at 2 p.m. for an afternoon hike along a to-be-announced route to start off the new year. For more details, call 304-558-3500.
- Blackwater Falls State Park — Meet park naturalist in lodge lobby at 10 a.m. for a brisk wintry walk along park trails looping back to Blackwater Lodge, including Shay Trace, Balanced Rock and Elakala trails, covering about 2 miles with short interpretive stops along the way. Hike leader is Paulita Cousin. 304-259-5216.
- Pipestem Resort State Park — Meet hike leader Kim Hawkins in the McKeever Lodge lobby at 1 p.m., and expect to be outdoors and on the trail for up to two hours. 304-466-1800.
- Cacapon Resort State Park — Meet at 10 a.m. in Cacapon’s Thomas Ambrose Nature Center to explore the natural beauty along Ridge Trail on a 1.5-mile hike that traverses several hills. Hike leader is Renee Fincham. 304-258-1022, ext. 5209.
- Twin Falls Resort State Park — A hike led by Cody Cochran will depart the Twin Falls lodge at 10 a.m. and involve an hour-long walk along roadside and golf course pathways within the park. 304-294—4000.
- Bluestone State Park — A 30-45-minute hike led by Ben Leedom will focus on the trees of Bluestone. The hike will begin at 10 a.m. starting from the boat launch below the park office. 304-466-2805.
- Cass Scenic Railroad State Park — Walk a section of the Greenbrier River Trail with hike leader Monica Fleming, starting at 11 a.m. from the Cass Visitor Center. 304-456-4300.
- Tygart Lake State Park — Meet hike leader Nichole Streets at 10 a.m. in the Park Office/Nature Center for a walk along Lake Trail. 304-265-6144.
To encourage hiking throughout the year, West Virginia State Parks Chief Sam England and the National Park Service, with help from Active Southern West Virginia and the YMCA of Southern West Virginia, are sponsoring separate challenges encourage people to hike 100 miles during 2016…