Start off 2021 on the right foot with some First Day Hikes at New Hampshire State Parks.
It’s part of a national initiative led by America’s State Parks to encourage people to get outdoors.
“We mostly want people to get outdoors over the holiday break and enjoy the fresh air. NH Parks has played an important part over the last 10 months to provide visitors with a safe and healthy respite during the pandemic, and First Day Hikes allows us to continue this effort in the off season,” said Brent Wucher, public information officer for the New Hampshire Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation.
People are encouraged to take and post some pictures of their outings for chances to win some state parks swag. Categories are best family photo, best couple or friend photo, best photo with a pet, best photo highlighting a natural feature, best photo taken with a trail or park sign.
In order to be considered, follow @nhstateparks on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, use the hashtags #firstdayhikes and #nhstateparks and tag photos. Pictures must also be taken at a state park property. (The First Hikes program started Dec. 26 and runs through New Year’s Day.)
Keep in mind that some trails might be more accessible than others. Some may be snow- or ice-covered. “We recommend micro spikes or other traction devices over their shoes, (and to) dress for cold weather and carry water and snacks.”
Wucher recommended people check out HikeSafe, provided by New Hampshire Fish and Game, for hiking tips. The site has some common-sense advice about checking the status of a particular park, avoiding crowded spots, bringing some essentials (face covering and hand sanitizer included) and having a backup plan.
Above all, dress in layers and play it safe.
“Slow down and choose lower-risk activities to reduce your risk of injury. Search and rescue operations and health care resources are both strained,” according to HikeSafe.com.
For information, visit nhstateparks.org or call 271-3556.
To find out which parks are pet friendly in the off-season, check out www.nhstateparks.org/planning/pet-friendly state-parks.
To register for a chance to win a family season pass for the 2021 season, go to www.nhstateparks.org/news-events/first-day-hike.