Texas Parks Could Join Your List of New Year’s Resolutions

Thousands of people are expected to visit Texas parks on January 1st, for a new tradition called First Day Hike.


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Picture of hikers in the Franklin Mountains
Visitors participate in the 2015 First Day Hike in the Franklin Mountains.

First Day Hike is a national initiative by America’s State Parks. It’s the fifth year of the program in Texas and participation has been steadily growing. Stephanie Salinas with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says more than 1,500 people hiked through Texas State Parks on January 1st, 2014.

“One of the most common resolutions is just saying you want to live a healthier lifestyle, or get out more and kind of get away from the everyday work routine that everyone’s used to. So this is a really great way to physically take a step in that direction by and show that you’re actually making an effort to live a healthier lifestyle by going outside,” said Salinas.

Of course bad weather can slow things down, as it did in 2015 when cold, icy conditions dropped the numbers considerably. But parks officials hope that the mild weather forecast for this coming New Year’s Day will draw more people out than ever. About 70 Texas state parks are holding special events to draw visitors, including a polar plunge at Balmorhea State Park, midnight hikes to ring in the new year and a number of races and bike rides.

“This is something that is happening in all 50 states, and last year over 70,000 miles were hiked in state parks across the country. And we’re hoping to hit a higher national and state number in the new year,” Salinas said.

In case you didn’t catch that, those 70,000 miles were hiked on a single day, for last year’s First Day Hike.

In the Houston area, First Day Hikes will be held at Brazos Bend, Galveston and Lake Livingston State Parks.

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Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Executive Producer for News

Laurie Johnson leads daily news coverage for HPM. She helps reporters craft and sharpen their stories on tight deadlines, with the aim of getting the most relevant and current information into local newscasts. Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. She is...

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