Published Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Georgia State Parks to offer New Year's outings

From Staff Reports

closeup@newnan.com

Georgia’s state parks are sponsoring New Year's Day hiking outings.

All across the country, state parks are inviting families to start the New Year with a “First Day Hike” and a commitment to healthy living. In Georgia, several state parks have planned guided hikes where families can connect with nature and each other. Last year, more than 600 Georgians kicked off 2012 on these guided hikes — a nationwide event sponsored by America’s State Parks.

According to state park officials, winter is a particularly scenic time for hiking because the open canopy means people can see farther through the woods.

“In winter, you can appreciate the unusual and beautiful shapes of trees and their branches,” said Georgia State Parks Director Becky Kelley. “You’ll notice moss-covered boulders and small waterfalls that are normally hidden behind by the forest. Plus, it’s fun for families to look for deer and other wildlife.”

Kicking off the New Year with an invigorating hike fits into the mission of the Georgia State Parks “Tons of Fun Initiative” — to encourage citizens to lead healthier lifestyles through outdoor recreation. The tonsoffun.org website includes exercise ideas, healthy recipes, nutritionist and personal trainer advice, and more.

A list of all ranger-led hikes on New Year’s Day, and the entire calendar of events can be found at georgiastateparks.org/events . For guests who want to celebrate a reflective New Year’s Eve in nature, Georgia’s State Parks offer heated cabins, hotel-style lodge rooms, cozy yurts and modern campsites. For reservations, call 1-800-864-7275.

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