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Record Number of Visitors Participate in 2019 First Day Hikes

The chilly start to the New Year did little to discourage the 3,938 visitors that hit the trail at a Texas State Park for a First Day Hike on Jan. 1. Texas had the fourth highest participation in the country with the largest number of parks hosting events. Visitors hiked, biked and paddled their way into 2019 at one of the 77 Texas state parks that hosted 124 events throughout the day. In total, participants trekked 7,086 miles statewide. “We were so excited to see a record number of visitor’s ring in 2019 with a First Day Hike at a Texas State Park,” said Rodney Franklin, Director of Texas State Parks. “First Day Hikes have become a tradition for many families and we encourage everyone to continue to explore the beautiful views and vistas found at parks statewide throughout the year.” The First Day Hikes events ranged from strolls on scenic trails, midnight walks, polar plunges, bike rides, and short treks with four-legged family members to more strenuous hikes for experienced visitors.

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Mother Neff State Park, located near Waco, had the most participants with 393 visitors taking part in the four First Day Hike events held that day. Cedar Hill State Park near Dallas and Brazos Bend State Park near Houston weren’t far behind. Several parks had more than 100 people participate in a single event. At one event at Cedar Hill State Park, 275 visitors hit the trail. Nationally, 1,270 guided First Day Hikes were offered from Alaska to Florida and park rangers hiked with more than 72,700 participants covering over 150,280 miles. This was a record number of hikers and events and included international participation from Canada, where they hosted 6 hikes for 185 attendees. For more information about hiking or other activities in Texas State Parks, visit

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