For the past three years North Carolina State Parks have opened their gates New Year’s Day for First Day Hikes to help North Carolinians shake off the holiday meals and kick start the new year.
On Jan. 1, 2015, both state parks within New Hanover County, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area and Carolina Beach State Park, are hosting hikes throughout the parks.
Carolina Beach State Park’s hike will begin at the marina trailhead at 10 a.m. and cover around 2 miles of the parks terrain, said park ranger Carla Edwards.
“It is a good hike for people to get outside and start the New Year off right and you see something new every time,” Edwards said. “It walks along the river and goes through marsh area and up through pine savannah to Sugarloaf, and then will walk out to the marsh on the observation deck.”
The hike will lead to Sugarloaf and back, with rangers discussing the park and its history throughout the hike. Edwards said the wildlife hikers may see includes deer, fox squirrels and winter birds.
Bird species like ducks, egrets, herons and warblers may also be seen during the hike at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, which begins at 2 p.m.
Fort Fisher park ranger Alyssa Taylor said the 3-mile roundtrip hike would be suitable for all ages.
“We are going to be hiking our Basin Trail and that will go through maritime forest, through the salt marsh and ends at the overlook in the basin looking toward Zeke’s Island,” Taylor said. “We will talk about some of the significance of the salt marshes, and the flora and fauna of this area.”
Both rangers said crowds for the hikes could vary between 15-30 people depending on weather. Registration is not required but appreciated.
There will be more than 40 New Year’s Day scheduled hikes at state parks across North Carolina covering around 10,000 miles of trails. For more information about the local parks and all state parks, visit www.ncparks.gov
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