First Day Hikes help ensure successful active living goals

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First Day Hikes help ensure successful active living goals
Winter is an ideal time to discover the West Virginia woodlands. (Photo courtesy Kyle Peyton)

People who seek to maintain active lifestyles may be more likely to sustain them if they start the year that way, says a proponent of First Day Hikes in West Virginia.

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At least eleven public walks and hikes are planned for January 1 across West Virginia, providing participants a chance to set out on the right foot while exploring some of the state's scenic landscapes.

"First Day Hikes provide a great opportunity to put into action our resolutions to live more actively," says Melanie Seiler Hames, executive director for Active Southern West Virginia.

"No matter the weather, no matter what interruptions may come, your commitment to a First Day Hike is ideal for sustaining a commitment to living actively."

Hames's organization is battling obesity and inactivity in southern West Virginia by helping hundreds of residents coordinate regular events such as local yoga, aerobics, and walking programs.

Its Active SWV 2020 First Day Hike is being held at the Summit Bechtel Reserve near Beckley, home of the National Boy Scout Jamboree and one of the scouting organization's national high-adventure bases.

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"This will be our first programming partnership with the organization and it will be the first time many people have had to visit the reserve and see one of its large lakes," Hames said.

Participants will meet at the entrance gate to The Summit at Glen Jean, West Virginia, at 1:30 p.m. The walk will lead participants 1.6 miles around Goodrich Lake near the center of the reserve.

A limited number of spaces are available, so participants will be required to register in advance by calling the active offices at 304-254-8488 or by visiting the organization's Facebook page at .

Another ten hikes are being led in parks and forests around the state, where many participants have a chance to explore the parks in their winter mantles for the first time.

Sam England, chief of West Virginia State Parks, says hiking continues to be the principal activity in which visitors to state parks participate.

"Hiking is a year-round activity, and the experience is different each time, depending upon the season and temperature," England said.

“Our parks and forests are known for our trails and beautiful scenery, and hiking is the number-one activity that park visitors enjoy.”

First Day hikers visiting state parks and forests should arrive 10-15 minutes prior to the hike, bring water and a snack, and wear appropriate clothing for the weather, including sturdy boots or hiking shoes.

There is no charge to participate and at the conclusion of the state park hikes, and participants will receive what is now tradition, WV State Park First Day Hike patch.

Complete details for each state park and forest hike are posted at .

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