OMSP starting New Year with First Day Hike

Published 2:04 pm Thursday, December 10, 2015

Oak Mountain State Park hosts a First Day Hike to kick off 2016. (Contributed)

Oak Mountain State Park hosting a First Day Hike to kick off 2016. (Contributed)

By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer

PELHAM— With a new year comes New Year’s resolutions, and many people may decide to be more active. To encourage people to get outdoors in 2016, Oak Mountain State Park is hosting a First Day Hike Jan. 1.

“It’s fun,” said park naturalist Emily Cook. ”People are coming out and wanting to enjoy the park.”

First Day Hikes are part of a nationwide initiative led by America’s State Parks. On New Year’s Day, hundreds of free hikes will be organized in all 50 states.

Last year, nearly 28,000 people nationwide rang in the new year, collectively hiking more than 66,000 miles, according to American Hiking Society’s website.

Cook said the hike has been a tradition at the park for about four years now. Attendees will meet at the entrance to Group Camp Road, located on the right about one-fourth of a mile past the intersection of John Findlay Drive and Terrace Drive, at 9 a.m.

Cook will guide a hike of about three miles to the entrance to Camp Tranquility, pointing out the flora and fauna the hikers encounter on the way. This year’s route will take hikers over a few streams, and Cook said attendees will see some historical features built in the 1930s.

She said it’s a family friendly walk, and there will be an incline to reach the turn-around point. Those that have attended in past years have enjoyed the walk, according to Cook.

“I try to change the location each year to give variety,” Cook said. “It’s always going to be different.”

Cook told attendees to wear good shoes and to dress for the weather. Dogs are welcome as long as they are on a leash.

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