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Largest First Day Hikes program yet planned for New Year's Day

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware State Park

DNREC’s Division of Parks and Recreation is hosting its annual First Day Hikes on New Year’s Day. The program has expanded in Delaware since it began nationwidein 2012. This year 18 hikes will be offered statewide.


Hikesof varying difficulty levels will be held at parks throughout the state  including First State Heritage Park in Dover, Holts Landing in Bethany Beach, White Clay in Newark and the Brandywine Zoo in Wilmington. 

Angel Burns is chief of interpretation at Delaware State Parks. She says this year brings the largest selection of hikes yet.


“The number of hikes is increasing from year to year, and it’s because we keep seeing an increasing number of attendance coming out for First Day Hikes, so we just want to continue to be able to offer a nice selection for folks,” said Burns.  

Roughly 1,200 Delawareans participated in the program last year. 

Burns says the selection of hikes this year offers a variety of experiences. “You can go to one park where it’s very stroller friendly, like at Bellevue. If you want to hike into the woods, you can go to Brandywine. We really tried to make it so that there’s something for everyone across the state.”

Burns sees the First Day Hikes program as way to start off the new year with other hikers across the country.


“It’s a part of a nationwide effort to promote healthy lifestyles and reconnect with the outdoors and nature,” Burns said.

DNREC recommends hikers wear comfortable walking shoes, bring water and wear weather-appropriate layers. Some hikes may require water-resistant shoes or have age or pet restrictions.

No registration is required for the First Day Hikes. Start times range from 10am to 3:30pm. 

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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