State parks launch 100th anniversary with New Year's hikes

RALEIGH -- North Carolina's state parks system launches its centennial year with 46 guided hikes on New Year's Day.

State parks Director Mike Murphy says the hikes will usher in a year of anniversary events planned throughout the state.

The state Division of Parks and Recreation says the offered hikes range from short leg stretchers to six-mile treks. The varied events include a photography hike, the unveiling of an art trail, scavenger hunts and a "polar plunge."

A complete list of hikes is available at www.ncparks.gov/first-day-hikes.

North Carolina's "first day hikes" began at Eno River State Park in Durham and Orange counties more than 40 years ago. Last Jan. 1, nearly 3,000 visitors collectively walked more than 7,000 miles on state park trails.

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