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Health, Science & Environment

First Hikes Offer Outdoor Celebration of New Year's Day

Utah’s state parks will continue a new tradition this year by offering guided hikes at six locations on New Year’s Day.

Justina Parsons-Bernstein, who coordinates the New Year’s Day hikes for Utah’s parks division, explains that

First Hikes is a 4-year-old national program by America’s State Parks.

“Utah state parks has been a participator since the very beginning of the initiative,” she says. “And we’ve had phenomenal turnout.”

In fact, last year’s naturalist-guided walk at Antelope Island State Park may have been the nation’s biggest First Hike. More than 200 hikers and their dogs set out in unseasonably warm weather, and they got up close and personal with bison.

People who turned out for last year’s sunrise hike at Snow Canyon State Park in southern Utah also had a surprising encounter.

“If you can imagine seeing two shooting stars as the sun is coming up over the redrock country down there, you know, over petrified dunes,” recalls Parsons-Bernstein. “What a way to start your year off -- to see celestial events!”

Cold weather is expected this year from Willard Bay to Snow Canyon. Hikers should dress appropriately and bring water.

Weather’s expected to be a factor at Goblin Valley State Park. Forecasts suggest the formations will be cloaked in snow.

First Hike programs are also planned for Coral Pink Sand Dunes and Dead Horse Point state parks.

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