DCNR Plans New Year’s Day Hikes
To promote a healthy start to the new year, the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources once again will sponsor free, guided hikes in 29 state parks on New Year’s Day.
The state program is part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative in all 50 states.
“Our First Day Hikes help remind people that our state parks and forests are open for healthy outdoor adventures in all four seasons, including winter,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Dunn said in a news release. “They are a great way to make a resolution to enjoy nature and get more exercise, and keep it on the first day of the year.”
Lehigh Gorge, Nescopeck and Beltzville state parks are among those offering a hike Tuesday. Park staff and volunteers will lead the hikes, which last approximately two hours.
“Last year, we hosted over 700 participants who hiked more than 1,793 miles in our state parks across Pennsylvania,” Dunn said.
The hike on the Lehigh Gorge rail-trail begins at 9 a.m. and will go from White Haven to Lehigh Tannery and back, about 2½ miles. Those participating are asked to meet at the White Haven Access, at the gate to the trail entrance located under the Interstate 80 overpass.
Along the way, participants will learn about the history of the park, which stretches back to the 1800s.
While the trail is relatively flat and would be suitable for a rugged stroller, it is not groomed, so it could be snow-covered or icy, and participants are advised to wear appropriate footwear. Well-behaved and leashed dogs that are friendly and good around children, crowds and other dogs are welcome.
At Nescopeck, a 2½-mile hike will begin at 1 p.m.; meet at the front parking lot by the bulletin board. The hike will cruise through various habitats within the park and pass by Nescopeck Creek.
Appropriate footwear is a must as a snow-covered or icy trail is a possibility. The trail is not stroller-friendly. Pets are not permitted on this hike.
At Beltzville, a hike of about 3½ miles will begin at 2 p.m. at the Beltzville Environmental Interpretive Center. Participants will hike to the top of the dam, where they will enjoy a scenic view of Beltzville Lake.
This is a dog-friendly hike; well behaved pets on a leash are welcome to attend. The trail has durable gravel, grass and dirt surfaces. Those attending are urged to bring plenty of water and wear warm layers and comfortable footwear.
Registration is required for all hikes, and can be completed at www.dcnr.state.pa.us; click on “Events,” then select the “First Day Hikes” tab.
— STAFF REPORT