For some, the beginning of a brand new 12 months requires a ‘First Day Hike’ : NPR

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NPR’s Rob Schmitz speaks with Julie Martin of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation concerning the three-decade-old custom of January 1 “First Day Hikes.”



ROB SCHMITZ, HOST:

Many folks begin New Year’s Day with an aspirin or possibly consuming a bit of brunch after which possibly watching some faculty soccer. But for some, tomorrow can be an opportunity to do one thing good for his or her our bodies, even when the health club is closed. They’ll go take a hike. The custom of what is referred to as First Day Hikes goes again greater than three many years. It began in Massachusetts, so we invited Julie Martin to speak about it. She’s director of customer expertise and applications for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Welcome to this system, Julie.

JULIE MARTIN: Thank you a lot, Rob. We’re actually excited to welcome folks. Our workers are making ready and preparing.

SCHMITZ: Julie, I wish to return a bit of, and I wish to perceive what was the thought behind these First Day Hikes within the first place?

MARTIN: So the thought of a First Day Hike really began on the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton. The park supervisor there on the time – his title is Pat Flynn – he needed folks to acknowledge that parks aren’t simply locations the place folks can go and recreate in the summertime. So when he was a seasonal employee in Ohio State Parks within the ’70s, that they had a well-liked program in February the place they introduced folks out to hike, and so they supplied them soup. And he mentioned, this might be an exquisite concept to attempt right here in Massachusetts. So in 1992, he began First Day Hikes and ran a program, and virtually 400 hikers got here that day. And, shall we embrace, the remaining is historical past.

SCHMITZ: And stroll me – or hike me – by means of this. What do people do on today, and the way large has it gotten?

MARTIN: The hikes have grown considerably. So within the spring of 2011, Priscilla Geigis, our then-director of state parks and now our deputy commissioner for conservation and useful resource stewardship, introduced the thought to different state park administrators within the Northeast. And they cherished the thought. And they determined that they have been going to problem the entire state park administrators in all 50 states to supply a First Day Hike. And on January 1, 2012, 400 hikes have been held throughout the nation as a part of America’s state parks’ First Day Hikes.

SCHMITZ: Wow. And now these hikes are usually, I perceive, on the brief facet, between 1 and three miles. And now, is that to enchantment to extra the informal hiker?

MARTIN: Yes, it’s. It’s actually an concept to welcome hikes for anyone. So it could possibly be households. It could possibly be people. And they’re all guided and led by workers and actually to assist folks really feel comfy with being out on our trails and serving to them to maybe come out on First Day, after which they will really feel comfy happening our trails alone. And they guarantee that the hikes are protected for everyone. And they lead them, and so they guarantee that there is a sweep individual on the finish to verify no person’s left behind. And then they assist with ensuring everyone will get a pleasant heat cup of sizzling chocolate on the finish of the hike.

SCHMITZ: So if listeners needed to participate in a First Day Hike tomorrow, how may they discover one close by?

MARTIN: They may discover one by going to our web site, mass.gov/dcr. And if you happen to’re outdoors of Massachusetts, you possibly can try stateparks.org, and that lists the entire hikes throughout the nation.

SCHMITZ: Julie Martin, director of customer expertise and applications for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation Recreation, thanks a lot.

MARTIN: Thank you, Rob. Happy New Year.

SCHMITZ: Happy New Year.

(SOUNDBITE OF L’IMPERATRICE’S “ODYSSEE”)

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