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Ring in the New Year with a Hike in a Florida State Park

December 29, 2013 - 6:00pm

In a statement released Monday morning, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, has issued an invitation to the people of Florida "to get back to nature" in the new year by participating in First Day Hikes 2014 on Wednsday, Jan. 1.

Says DEP, 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 New Year's Day 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 parks 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 Floridas state parks.

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