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Free 'First Day Hikes' planned across Oregon

SALEM, Ore. - The First Day Hikes tradition continues New Year's Day 2018, when the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department joins America's State Parks in sponsoring the seventh annual event.

All 24 hikes in 22 Oregon state parks will be guided by park rangers or volunteers who will share stories about a park's geology, history, wildlife and plants. Day-use parking fees are waived for all visitors at participating parks Jan. 1 only.

Hikers can register for a hike at the Oregon State Parks Store, http://bit.ly/ParkStoreEvents. Online registration is new this year--although not required--and will help park staff plan for the hike and provide them with participant contact information should hike details change.

"Bundle up and enjoy your first walk of the year with us," says Lisa Sumption, OPRD director. "First Day Hikes are a fun, healthy way to start 2018 and a great way to see that Oregon state parks are great any time of year."

OPRD advises visitors to plan for inclement weather, dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, bring water and remember to carry binoculars for viewing wildlife. Check the hike listings at http://bit.ly/ParkStoreEvents for details about recommended ages for children hiking and whether pets are allowed.

Participating parks and meeting areas:

PORTLAND
Banks-Vernonia State Trail: 9 a.m. Meet at the Buxton Trailhead.
Milo McIver State Park: 9 a.m. Meet in the Riverbend lower boat launch parking lot.
Tryon Creek State Natural Area: 9 a.m. Meet at the Nature Center.

COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE
Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail: Noon. Meet at the Mark O. Hatfield Visitors Center West Trailhead.

WILLAMETTE VALLEY/CASCADES
Champoeg State Heritage Area: two hikes--one at 10 a.m. and the other at 2:30 p.m. Meet at the Visitor Center.
Elijah Bristow State Park: Noon horse ride. Bring your own horse and meet in the equestrian parking area.
Silver Falls State Park: 10 a.m. Meet at the South Falls Lodge porch.
State Capitol State Park: 10 a.m. Meet at the Capitol steps.

SOUTHERN OREGON
Collier Memorial State Park: 9 a.m. Meet at the Logging Museum Cookhouse.
TouVelle State Park: 1 p.m. Meet at the Area F parking lot.
Valley of the Rogue State Park: hike and bicycle ride. Bicycle ride at 11 a.m. Meet at Rogue River bridge - John F. Fleming Veterans Memorial Park. Hike at 1 p.m. Meet at the Valley of the Rogue program area.

COAST
Cape Lookout State Park: Noon. Meet in the Cape Lookout Trail parking lot.
Crissey Field State Recreation Site: 2 p.m. Meet at the base of the stairs adjacent to the parking lot.
Darlingtonia State Natural Area: 1 p.m. Meet in the parking lot.
Humbug Mountain State Park: 10 a.m. Meet at the campground flag pole.
Oswald West State Park: 10 a.m. Meet in the main parking lot on the southern end near the shop.
South Beach State Park: 10 a.m. Meet in the South Beach day-use area.
Sunset Bay State Park (Coos Bay area): 1 p.m. Meet at the Sunset Bay gazebo.
Sunset Beach State Recreation Site (Astoria area): 10 a.m. Meet in the Sunset Beach parking lot.
William M. Tugman State Park: 10 a.m. Meet in the day-use area at the gazebo.

EASTERN/CENTRAL OREGON
Emigrant Springs State Heritage Park: 11 a.m. snowshoe hike. Meet in the day-use parking lot to the right of the entrance.
Smith Rock State Park: 10 a.m. Meet at the Welcome Center. Hike limited to 35 participants. Reserve your spot at http://bit.ly/SmithRock2018FDH


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