The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports that 4,896 people hiked 9,780 miles during First Day Hikes in 41 state parks on New Year’s weekend. Between Dec. 31, 2022 and Jan. 2, 2023, there were 37 scheduled ranger-led programs with an additional 23 self-guided opportunities available on state public lands across Maryland. Despite some rain, most of Maryland enjoyed spring-like weather during the New Year’s weekend, helping encourage people to get outside. Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford joined Maryland DNR Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio at North Point State Park for their final First Day Hike in office.
“It’s great to start off the year with a hike through one of our 76 state parks,” said Lt. Governor Rutherford. “The First Day Hikes are a great opportunity for all Marylanders to come together, lace up their hiking boots, and explore the natural beauty of Maryland.” Secretary Riccio kicked off the hike with appreciation for the DNR teams that host the events every year. “I want to thank our Maryland Park Service staff and volunteers and Natural Resources Police for what they do every day and for allowing us to enjoy these incredible opportunities,” Secretary Riccio said.
State park ranger-led programs hosted 1,858 visitors and hikers covered approximately 4,575 miles, while 2,654 people took advantage of self-guided hikes covering at least 4,182 miles, In addition, through a Maryland Park Service online survey asking hikers to self-report, 384 hikers covered 1,023 miles in Maryland’s state parks. Last year, about 3,000 visitors took part in First Day Hikes in Maryland State Parks during the three-day period from December 31, 2021 through January 2, 2022.