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Central Texans making 'First Day Hikes' a new holiday tradition

Tuesday, January 1, 2013 - 1:40pm

Many Central Texans got out Tuesday to take part in a new tradition being offered statewide, called "First Day Hikes". It's a program started by the National Association of State Park Directors, to encourage physical activity and enjoyment of the great outdoors.

"What better place to get fresh air? What better place to get exercise? It's the beauty of the outdoors," said Tom Fisher, Fort Parker State Park Superintendent.

More than a dozen walkers join together for the "First Day Hike" being offered at Fort Parker State Park. This is just one of 657 first day hikes taking place across the country. It's a way to get locals active and to share with them the beauty that their own backyard has to offer.

"This is to try and bring some of those local people back in, try to get some of those people who may not be using their state park, except for camping once a year," said Fisher.

Hikers, like Pat Dietrich and her daughter, came out New Year's Day, inspite of the rain, as they're determined to start off the new year on the good foot."

"It's a new year, resolutions and so forth, it's time to get back in the habit of getting more exercise," said Hewitt resident, Pat Dietrich.

Walkers took a mile and a half guided hike, looking at natural and historical resources. The park has more than six miles of hiking trails that workers spend hundreds of hours working on annually.

"Clearing them, getting the brush off, removing trees, cutting brush back, smoothing out to level places, getting rid of trip hazards, making them easy for you to enjoy," said Fisher.

This is the first year that Fort Parker has participated, but they anticipate expanding the event each year. Lake Whitney State Park and Mother Neff State Park also hosted "First Day Hikes" on Tuesday.

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