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Media inquiries: Please contact Gary Waugh, gary.waugh@dcr.virginia.gov, 804-786-5045.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: December 10, 2012
Contact: Jim Meisner Jr., DCR Public Relations Specialist, (804) 786-8442, jim.meisner@dcr.virginia.gov

Virginia State Parks to celebrate the New Year with First Day Hikes

(RICHMOND) - Virginia State Parks, managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, will offer special hiking opportunities in all 35 state parks on New Year's Day as part of America's State Parks First Day Hikes initiative.

On Jan. 1, 2012, more than 14,000 people hiked more than 30,000 miles in state parks across the country. In Virginia, 3,708 people hiked 5,583 miles during First Day Hikes.

"We are excited to host First Day Hikes as part of this national effort to get people outdoors and into our parks," said State Parks Director Joe Elton. "First Day Hikes are a great way to cure cabin fever and burn off those extra holiday calories by starting off the New Year with an invigorating walk or hike in one of our beautiful state parks."

"All Virginia State Parks will offer guided hikes led by rangers and volunteers as well as self-guided hikes that allow participants to set their own pace and explore new trails," Elton said. "Some parks offer scavenger hunts, and others have refreshments." For a complete list of Virginia State Park hikes, visit http://1.usa.gov/UcEJPd.

Hikers are encouraged to bring cameras and share their photos using social media sites. A weekend cabin stay will be awarded for every 200 photographs entered. Winning photos will be determined by the most votes on Facebook. For more information on the contest, visit http://bit.ly/V1gmVp.

Represented by regional board members of the National Association of State Park Directors, America's State Parks is an alliance of state park systems in all 50 states working to strengthen the importance of more than 6,000 state parks across the nation.

For more information about Virginia State Parks activities and amenities or to make a reservation for one of the more than 1,800 campsites or 300 climate-controlled cabins, call the Virginia State Parks Reservation Center at 800-933-PARK or visit www.virginiastateparks.gov.

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