AUSTIN— Nearly 8,000 participants shattered the previous attendance record New Year’s Day by ringing in Texas State Parks’ 100th birthday with a First Day Hike. Texans across the state traveled to one of the 83 participating parks and hiked, biked and paddled a combined 17,190 miles.
“What an exciting way to kick off the 100-year anniversary of Texas State Parks,” said Rodney Franklin, director of Texas State Parks. “This year, more Texans than ever before participated in First Day Hikes. I am thrilled that I could be a part of the effort that saw Texas lead the nation in the number of hikes, participants and miles hiked. However, the number of miles hiked pales in comparison to the number of smiles created by First Day Hikes in Texas this year. Thank you all for joining us — please come back soon with a friend.”
Cedar Hill State Park, about 25 minutes south of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, had the most participants this year with 773 visitors taking part in multiple programs throughout the day.
Other parks that drew high visitation numbers on January 1 include Mother Neff State Park with 603 participants, Palo Duro Canyon State Park with 414, Dinosaur Valley State Park with 392 and Brazos Bend State Park with 384.
Photos of First Day Hikes at Texas State Parks can be found on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Flickr page.
H-E-B, presenting sponsor of the Centennial Celebration, donated 5,000 samples from its sustainable product line “Field and Future” for visitors during First Day Hikes. The product brand supports efforts such as coastal conservation along the Texas Gulf Coast, black bear restoration in West Texas and establishment of Palo Pinto Mountains State Park in North Texas, the state’s newest state park.