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:
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.
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.
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.
Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin
Honeymoon Island State Park, Dunedin
Lovers Key State Park, Fort Myers Beach
Stump Pass Beach State Park, Englewood.
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.