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Close to 5,000 Marylander’s brought in their New Year with bodily exercise as they participated in the state’s annual First Day Hikes

NORTH POINT— Close to 5,000 Marylander’s rang in their new year with bodily exercise as they participated in the state’s annual First Day Hikes, initiated by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford joined Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio and other nature-trailers to take part in the statewide hike at Patuxent River State Park in Howard and Montgomery counties.

Department of Natural Resources Ranger Nicole Staab organized the First Day Hikes for Gunpowder Falls/North Point State Parks this year to start Dundalkians’ year off with physical fitness.

“The point of the hikes is to have our visitors start the year off on a healthy foot, get outdoors, meet people with similar interests and goals, and explore Maryland State Parks,” Staab said.

The North Point hike was led by the Gunpowder Falls State Park Maryland Conservation Corps (MCC) Crew Members.

At North Point State Park, there were 67 hikers that survived the chilly weather and completed the hiking mission.

“Despite the cold 40-degree weather, all hikes went according to plan, and after the completion of the hikes, participants received an ‘I Hiked’ sticker to show off that they completed a Maryland Park Service First Day Hike,” Staab said.

Throughout Maryland, there were 43 hikes at more than 30 locations, totaling 4,986 hikers, not counting those who didn’t register with the Maryland Park Service.

First Day Hikes are a great way to spend New Year’s Day, according to Rutherford.

“Special thanks go to the rangers, volunteers and all the folks who joined us — I’m already looking forward to next year,” he said.

This year’s First Day Hikes attendance broke the New Year’s Days 2019 record, with close to 1,500 more hikers at seven additional locations.

It is unclear how long the Department of Natural Resources have been hosting these hikes, but it has been a Maryland Park Service annual tradition for quite sometime now with over 42 hikes listed across the state this year in every region of Maryland.

First Day Hikes are only held on New Year’s Day, but Gunpowder Falls State Park hosts other guided hikes and programs throughout the year. Look for these on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website calendar of events for the schedule.