hiking

Residents are encouraged to kick off the new year outdoors at Woolly Hollow State Park for the annual First Day Hikes event.

To help Faulkner County residents start off the new year on a good foot, Woolly Hollow park rangers and interpreters are participating alongside other parks across the state for the annual first-day hikes event.

“So many people start the year with resolutions about seeking more authentic experiences as well as taking control of their own health and fitness,” Arkansas State Parks Chief of Interpretation and Program Services Kelly Farrell said. “With our First Day Hikes, you can put those good intentions right into action! We hope our visitors will take advantage of our programs so they can turn goals into accomplishments on day one of 2020. Whether our guests join a scheduled, guided hike or take a self-guided trek on our 400+ miles of trails, we hope everyone enjoys being a part of a nationwide celebration and become[s] inspired to make visiting state parks a year-round habit.”

Woolly Hollow will host two separate first-day hikes on Wednesday.

The first hike begins at 10 a.m. New Year’s Day.

Woolly Hollow Park Interpreter Sam Files said the first guided hike will be along the Huckleberry Trail. The 3.5-mile trail loops around Lake Bennett and is the park’s “more scenic” path, Files said.

At 2 p.m., park staff will guide participants along the half-mile Cabin Trail. This guided tour is “appropriate for all ages,” Files said.

“The hikes that we’re going on [Wednesday] showcase a lot of our more scenic areas,” Files said, adding that the First Day Hikes event is a great way to encourage healthy habits. “First Day Hikes are a good way to start your year off right and set the tone for the new year. Come on out and get a nice breather for the new year and new decade.”

As participants complete the Cabin Trail, they will have the opportunity to tour the Woolly Cabin.

The Woolly Cabin is a one-room log cabin that was built in 1882 by Martin Alfred Woolly. The cabin originally was located about one mile southwest of the park but was later moved and restored to its current location in 1975. Various families lived in the cabin up until 1955.

The tour will allow families “to reflect on years past,” Files said.

Each tour will begin at the at the Woolly Hollow Visitor Center. Following each hike, participants will be offered hot chocolate and coffee.

Other parks across the state are also taking part in the First Day Hikes event.

“This is an exciting initiative designed to help people develop a personal appreciation for our world-class state parks and the unique benefits of each park,” Arkansas State Parks Director Grady Spann said.

For a full list of state parks participating in the annual event New Year’s Day, visit www.arkansasstateparks.com.

Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at mhicks@thecabin.net.

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